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Pharmacist-Led Phone Follow-Up May Cut Readmission Rates

Intervention for polypharmacy patients linked to improved readmission rates, time to readmission

elderly woman on cell phone

FRIDAY, Feb. 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A pharmacist-led, postdischarge structured telephone follow-up (TFU) intervention can reduce 30-day and 90-day readmission rates for polypharmacy patients, according to a study published online Jan. 23 in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Mohanad Odeh, from Queen's University Belfast in the United Kingdom, and colleagues evaluated the impact of a pharmacist-led, postdischarge TFU intervention among patients with at least 10 prescribed medications for the management of chronic illness.

The researchers found that patients enrolled in the intervention had reductions in 30-day and 90-day readmission rates versus controls (30-day odds ratio, 0.57; 90-day odds ratio, 0.53). The marginal mean time to readmission was 70.9 days for the intervention group versus 60.1 days for controls. Further, the mean length of hospital stay for first readmission was shorter for the intervention group compared with the control group (6.7 versus 8.3 days). Patients in the intervention group had lower mean concern scale scores versus controls. In addition, 83.8 percent of patients reported having better medication control after the intervention.

"Many patients have difficulty in managing their medicines after discharge from hospital. Telephone follow-up allowed clinical pharmacists to give tailored support to patients according to their individual needs," a coauthor said in a statement. "This simple intervention had very positive outcomes and was welcomed by patients. We are working to introduce this new approach into routine practice across the hospital service."

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