Pharmacy-based transition of care improves patient satisfaction, lowers readmission rates

Patients who received focused care and education from pharmacists while transitioning out of the hospital showed higher satisfaction and lower readmission rates, according to research presented at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) 54th Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition.

Researchers assessed the effects of a pharmacy-based transition-of-care education protocol on patient satisfaction, safety, and readmission. Through this model, which was implemented without any additional resourcing, pharmacy staff at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis reconciled medications before hospital discharge and educated patients on the ones they were taking. Pharmacists also followed up with patients by phone after discharge to discuss their care.

The study included 1,728 patients, 414 of whom received the full transition-of-care protocol. Those patients expressed higher satisfaction with their care, marked by an increase of 14.7% in the overall average mean score measured by the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey.

Patients who received a follow-up phone call from a pharmacist after hospital discharge also saw a 5% drop (from 17.3% to 12.4%) in hospital 30-day readmission rates.

“Pharmacists play a multitude of vital roles for patients during a hospital stay, including comprehensive medication management and ensuring medication safety,” said Katherine L. March, PharmD, BCPS, clinical pharmacy specialist at Methodist University Hospital, in a statement. “Now, they can feel increasingly confident about their role in helping patients when transitioning from different levels of care. Our findings add to growing literature demonstrating that pharmacist involvement in hospital discharge improves outcomes and safety.”