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What’s the link between Rx management and reducing hospital readmission rates?


What’s the connection between poor medication management and the failure of many older Americans to avoid sliding right back into the hospital just weeks after being discharged and sent home? And who wants to know?

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation and the Cardinal Health Foundation, to name two of the groups looking for answers. NACDS and Cardinal have teamed up to spur research into the link between effective medication management and adherence on the one hand, and improved patient outcomes — measured by hospital readmission rates for post-discharge patients — on the other.

NACDS and Cardinal announced last week that they would provide up to $1.2 million in grants to study the link between medications and hospital readmission rates. The grants, each worth up to $600,000, would fund research into “the impact of integrating pharmacist-provided medication management services into the hospital discharge process,” NACDS announced in a request for proposals [RFP] to would-be researchers.

“Specifically, the research will focus on patients with pneumonia, heart failure, acute myocardial infarctions or other common conditions to gauge the impact of medication management on readmission rates at 30-, 60- and 180-days after discharge from the hospital and on adherence to discharge medications 180 days after leaving the hospital,” the group announced.

The deadline for proposals is Sept. 20, with award announcements to come in mid-December.

It’s a big issue, and it’s worth some serious research. “Too often, hospital discharges lead to a revolving door of readmissions. Nearly 1-in-5 Medicare patients are readmitted to a hospital within 30 days of discharge, leading to $26 billion in wasted healthcare resources annually,” said NACDS Foundation president Kathleen Jaeger.

It’s no secret that “Medication nonadherence and adverse events attributed to medications are a leading cause of hospital readmissions,” as Jaeger noted — or that “medication reconciliation, adherence to discharge medications and longitudinally tracking medication use as patients move into the community are critical to improve patient health.”

Sounds like a job for both the hospital and the community pharmacist. Is there an opportunity for both to work more closely together to improve patient outcomes and reduce readmission rates? As always, your input is welcome.


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