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Medication reconciliation cuts readmissions

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Riya Pulicharam, M.D., and her colleagues, writing in Hospital Impact, have found that medication reconciliation between care encounters with clinicians is a good way to lower hospital readmissions and save money.

They discuss an initiative implemented by HealthCare Partners-California. The program connects  a team of pharmacists and pharmacy students with patients discharged from participating skilled-nursing facilities.

Dr . Pulicharam writes that within 72 hours of the patient’s return home, a member of the pharmacy team “reviews medication discrepancies, discusses possible interventions and develops an action plan, which often includes contacting the discharging physician and providing comprehensive education to the patient and his or her family.”

She adds:  “Results of the pilot program, to date, have been remarkable. Of 226 patients discharged during a six-month period in 2014, 79 percent required reconciliation of their medication lists and 53 percent needed some sort of change or intervention to their therapies….”

“HealthCare Partners saw lower 30-day all-cause readmission rates (8.20 percent) compared to other SNFs in California with similar patient compositions and characteristics, but without a pharmacist medication reconciliation program (15.32 percent). Year-over-year analysis of the intervention program showed a decrease in 30-day acute readmission rates from 10.43 percent in 2013 (pre-intervention year) to 8.20 percent in 2014 (intervention year).”

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