Background: Medical inpatients are at risk for suboptimal health outcomes from adverse drug events and under-use of evidence-based therapies. We sought to determine whether collaborative care including a team-based clinical pharmacist improves the quality of prescribed drug therapy and reduces hospital readmission.
Methods: Multicenter, quasi-randomized, controlled clinical trial. Consecutive patients admitted to 2 internal and 2 family medicine teams in 3 teaching hospitals between January 30, 2006 and February 2, 2007 were included. Team care patients received proactive clinical pharmacist services (medication history, patient-care round participation, resolution of drug-related issues, and discharge counseling). Usual care patients received traditional reactive clinical pharmacist services. The primary outcome was the overall quality score measured retrospectively by a blinded chart reviewer using 20 indicators targeting 5 conditions. Secondary outcomes included 3- and 6-month readmission.
Results: A total of 452 patients (220 team care, 231 usual care, mean age: 74 years, 46% male) met eligibility criteria. Team care patients were more likely than usual care patients to receive care specified by the indicators overall (56.4% vs. 45.3%; adjusted mean difference: 10.4%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 4.9%, 15.7%) and for each targeted disease state except for heart failure. Team care patients experienced fewer readmissions at 3 months (36.2% vs. 45.5%; adjusted OR: 0.63; 95% CI: 0.42, 0.94) but not at 6 months (50.7% vs. 56.3%; adjusted OR; 0.78; 95% CI: 0.53, 1.15).
Conclusions: In patients admitted to internal and family medicine teams, team-based care including a clinical pharmacist, improved the overall quality of medication use and reduced rates of readmission.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00351676.