Getting discharged from the hospital and then having to go right back in again can be emotionally draining for a patient and their family. It can also cause financial strain for all involved the patient, the hospital system and the insurersincluding Medicaid and Medicare, which are taxpayer funded.
With Medicare, for example, nearly one in five patients discharged from a hospitalapproximately 2.6 million seniorsare readmitted within 30 days, at a cost of over $26 billion annually.
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati's James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, however, estimate that readmissions could be lowered by as much as 20 percent if, after a hospital stay, high-risk patients received counseling and medication management by a pharmacist in a community pharmacy.
"Patients with certain diseases take many different kinds of medications, and when their medications are well managed, then being readmitted should be mostly preventable," associate professor Pamela Heaton, PhD, says of the college's participation in a new study which aims to pair 1,000 patients who are at high risk for readmission with a community pharmacist.
The study, funded by a $600,000 grant from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation, is a partnership among Cincinnati's Health Collaborative, the Kroger Co. and the college. It is based on a 2013 pilot study conducted by assistant professor Heidi Luder, PharmD.
Luder and Heaton are co-investigators on the larger, NACDS-sponsored study.
In the pilot, Luder says, patients who saw the pharmacist were less likely to be readmitted than patients who did not participate.
This study, she says, "is a huge opportunity to expand the successful pilot program to several different hospitals and several different pharmacies across the Cincinnati area. We hope that this larger study will be able to impact more patients on a larger scale and improve the
|Contact: Angela Koenig|
University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center