Pharmacists Have the Prescription for Reducing Readmissions

Doctor writing out RX prescription selective focus

In a recent study from the University of Cincinnati, researchers found that hospitals were less likely to readmit patients who saw a pharmacist after discharge than those who did not. In fact, they discovered the hospital readmissions could drop20% if community pharmacists work with high-risk patients after discharge on counseling and medication management. The University of Cincinnati researchers have announced they are going to expand their research project and pair 1,000 high-risk patients with a community pharmacist. Pharmacists will review medications for drug interactions, side effects, non-adherence duplications and contraindications. The goal is to see how much this will reduce early hospital readmissions and ultimately to keep these patients healthy. High-risk patients include patients with conditions such as COPD, Congestive Heart Failure and Diabetes, pneumonia and myocardial infarction. Patients with these types of chronic conditions are prescribed many medications and struggle to stay compliant, or their medications have negative interactions which too often will land them back in the hospital.

Related: Easily Enable Virtual Care & Telehealth Deployments

But researchers are hopeful, as other studies have demonstrated a significant reduction in readmissions after implementing a similar program. Atlanta Medical Center did one-on-one medication and disease management discharge counseling with a pharmacist and they saw a 50% lower 30-day readmission rate than patients without the counseling. These types of results are a huge breakthrough for health systems, especially as Accountable Care Organizations are trying to decrease readmission rates for reimbursement.

Programs like these have the power to reduce readmissions and keep patients healthy. However, it can be very expensive for a health system to have pharmacists on site at each clinic or to have them travel from clinic to clinic to perform these medication reviews. One alternative is to conduct these MTM sessions virtually.LinkLive Healthcare’s Virtual MTM capabilities enable pharmacists to offer more flexible, responsive, and scalable MTM services to their patients securely and richly over the Internet. While face-to-face visits are optimal, distance, multiple and dispersed care locations, travel times, and a scarcity of qualified resources can make these offerings difficult if not impractical to deliver. Virtual MTM can make a significant impact on patient health outcome with very low cost to deliver. These MTM sessions can be delivered virtually using whatever communication medium is most appropriate – via the patient’s phone, via video from a PC or mobile device – all using the same process and tool, which simplifies the workflow and increases the productivity of the pharmacist.

Have some thoughts on innovation and how to apply LinkLive at your organization?

Sources:
http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/pharmacists-help-reduce-readmissions-among-high-risk-patients/2014-06-19?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal
http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/pharmacy-key-reducing-readmissions/2013-01-17

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