To assess the impact of ambulatory clinical pharmacist medication therapy assessment and reconciliation for patients postdischarge in terms of hospital readmission rates, financial savings, and medication discrepancies.
Group Health Cooperative (Group Health) in Washington State, from September 2009 through February 2010.
Group Health is a nonprofit integrated group practice and health plan, operating 25 primary care medical centers and 5 specialty centers. Group Health's practice design is a patient-centered medical home model.
All patients identified as high risk for readmission were followed by Group Health care management. Patients in care management who received a phone call from a pharmacist 3 to 7 days postdischarge for medication therapy assessment and reconciliation were identified as the medication review group (n = 243). Patients who did not receive clinical pharmacist intervention were included in the comparison group (n = 251).
Main outcome measures
Readmission rates, financial savings, and medication discrepancies.
Patients who received medication therapy assessment and reconciliation had decreased readmission rates at 7, 14, and 30 days postdischarge, with statistical significance at 7 and 14 days. Medication review versus comparison readmission rates were as follows: 7 days: 0.8% vs. 4% (
P = 0.01); 14 days: 5% vs. 9% (
P = 0.04); and 30 days: 12% vs. 14% (
P = 0.29). Financial savings for Group Health per 100 patients who received medication reconciliation was an estimated $35,000, translating to more than $1,500,000 in savings annually. Of patients, 80% had at least one medication discrepancy upon discharge.
Most literature on medication reconciliation evaluates inpatient processes, whereas data on medication reconciliation postdischarge are limited. Our data support the hypothesis that medication assessment and reconciliation by pharmacists 3 to 7 days postdischarge can decrease readmissions and provide cost savings.