Transitions of Care

An innovative program involves pharmacists in the patient's transition from a rehabilitation hospital to the home.

A recent news release described an innovative program in which a community pharmacist comes into a rehabilitation hospital to deliver medication and counseling directly to a patient prior to discharge. Then there is a follow-up call within 72 hours—from a pharmacist—to help the patient understand and comply with their medication therapy.

The reason for such a program is clear. Transitions of care are a very vulnerable time for patients. Often care transitions can be a confusing time for patients and even caregivers. Studies have shown that when patients adhere to their medication regimen, costs go down. Using a pharmacist in this role seems to lead to improved quality, lower costs, and improved patient satisfaction.

I believe that more community pharmacists need to think about how they might implement such a transition of care program in their own community. The news release describes a program in Florida run by Walgreens and Greystone Healthcare Management. Is such a program only possible when run by large corporations or could a local pharmacy do it, too? What do you think?