JAPhA study: Pharmacists well-positioned to address medication-related readmissions

More than a quarter of medication-related readmissions due to nonadherence

Taking a systematic approach to reviewing and categorizing readmissions allows pharmacists to discern preventable medication-related readmissions and take steps to improve care, say researchers at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. In a study published online in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, the authors describe a quality improvement practice that supports Pharm2Pharm, a pharmacist-led care transition model in which hospital consulting pharmacists identify patients at risk for medication-related readmissions and formally hand them off at discharge to a community consulting pharmacist.

As part of the quality improvement practice, hospital consulting pharmacists identified readmitted patients who were enrolled in Pharm2Pharm. They reviewed medical records for 401 readmissions and interviewed the patients as necessary to learn the reasons for the readmissions.

The hospital consulting pharmacists determined that 26% of the readmissions were potentially preventable and related to medication. Of those, 23.8% were because of nonadherence owing to patient choice, 13.3% were for untreated conditions for which medication was indicated, and 21% were because the patient’s medication dose was either too high or too low. As part of the Pharm2Pharm model, the hospital consulting pharmacists then contacted the community consulting pharmacist and discussed ways of preventing future readmissions.

In their conclusion, the researchers note that although the quality improvement practice was developed for the Pharm2Pharm model, it could be used in any setting where pharmacists are tasked with reducing medication-related admissions.