Impact of pharmacist discharge counseling on hospital readmission and emergency department visit

Tu Tran, Saijal Khattar, Tiffany T. Vu, Maggie Potter, Jane Hodding, Grace M. Kuo, Jennifer Le


Objective: The enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 imposes payment penalty on hospitals with high hospital readmission rates. In an effort to reduce readmissions, a pharmacist discharge counseling program was implemented to facilitate transition of care to the outpatient setting. Our study objective was to evaluate the impact of the program on hospital readmissions and visits to the emergency department (ED).
Methods: This was a single-center, retrospective cohort study conducted at a not-for-profit, teaching community hospital with 462 total beds. Pharmacists provided counseling to patients discharged from the medicine floor between November 2013 and January 2014, and included those considered to be high-risk (e.g., taking 5 scheduled medications and had diseases such as congestive heart failure and diabetes mellitus). Descriptive analysis was performed and outcomes were compared between patients who did and did not receive pharmacist counseling.
Results: Of a total of 889 discharged patients, 488 (55%) received counseling from a pharmacist. For the entire cohort, mean age was 55 ± 20 years; Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) score was 2.74 ± 2.95; and length of hospitalization was 4 ± 4 days. These parameters were not statistically different between the two groups. Within 30-days after hospital discharge, significantly fewer subjects who received counseling, compared with those who did not, were readmitted to the hospital (11.3% vs. 15%, p = .009) or visited the ED (10.6% vs. 15%, p = .005).
Conclusions: Discharge counseling provided by pharmacists during transitions of care at a community hospital significantly reduced 30-day readmission and ED visit rates.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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