Coordination of care has been shown to be extremely beneficial to patient care and many policy efforts have taken aim to engage the multitude of different health care providers. Coordination among health care providers is beneficial not only to patient care, but also to optimizing resources and costs. Pharmacists are one member of the health care system that may not be used to their full potential, as the coordination between clinicians and pharmacists can help improve patient care through medication reconciliation, patient education, discharge planning, and reducing readmissions due to medication errors.
In an article published in The American Journal of Managed Care, post-discharge services provided by pharmacists were observed to study the impact on reducing hospital readmissions. A sample of high risk individuals enrolled in a managed Medicaid plan in California were observed thirty days’ post discharge. Pharmacists worked with outpatient clinicians on different services, such as patient education, discharge planning, and appointment transport arrangements to address medication-related barriers or other problems among patients. As a result of these transition of care services, there was a 25% lower risk of readmission compared to patients receiving typical care. Moreover, this transition of care pharmacy program significantly reduced 30 day readmissions at Kern Health Systems by 28%. More information on this study and methods used can be found here: http://www.ajmc.com/journals/issue/2017/2017-vol23-n3/impact-of-a-pharmacy-based-transitional-care-program-on-hospital-readmissions/P-1
To emphasize the importance of care coordination, the Michigan Pharmacists Association (MPA) and MPA Public Affairs committee have developed a booklet that outlines several care areas where pharmacists can participate alongside other health care providers to improve the patient experience and outcomes. A myriad of clinical areas are outlined in this booklet, along with information on studies performed to validate that collaboration along different service lines can be beneficial to patient care. The booklet can be found here: http://www.michiganpharmacists.org/Portals/0/resources/provider/PharmsasProviders_healthcare17.pdf?ver=2017-05-01-102819-910
The addition of pharmacists as a member of the health care team and utilization of their expertise, especially concerning proper medication usage, can have a significant impact for any health care facility.