Postdischarge pharmacist medication reconciliation: impact on readmission rates and financial savings

J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). Jan-Feb 2013;53(1):78-84. doi: 10.1331/JAPhA.2013.11250.


Objective: To assess the impact of ambulatory clinical pharmacist medication therapy assessment and reconciliation for patients postdischarge in terms of hospital readmission rates, financial savings, and medication discrepancies.

Setting: Group Health Cooperative (Group Health) in Washington State, from September 2009 through February 2010.

Practice description: Group Health is a nonprofit integrated group practice and health plan, operating 25 primary care medical centers and 5 specialty centers. Group Health's practice design is a patient-centered medical home model.

Practice innovation: All patients identified as high risk for readmission were followed by Group Health care management. Patients in care management who received a phone call from a pharmacist 3 to 7 days postdischarge for medication therapy assessment and reconciliation were identified as the medication review group (n = 243). Patients who did not receive clinical pharmacist intervention were included in the comparison group (n = 251).

Main outcome measures: Readmission rates, financial savings, and medication discrepancies.

Results: Patients who received medication therapy assessment and reconciliation had decreased readmission rates at 7, 14, and 30 days postdischarge, with statistical significance at 7 and 14 days. Medication review versus comparison readmission rates were as follows: 7 days: 0.8% vs. 4% ( P = 0.01); 14 days: 5% vs. 9% ( P = 0.04); and 30 days: 12% vs. 14% ( P = 0.29). Financial savings for Group Health per 100 patients who received medication reconciliation was an estimated $35,000, translating to more than $1,500,000 in savings annually. Of patients, 80% had at least one medication discrepancy upon discharge.

Conclusion: Most literature on medication reconciliation evaluates inpatient processes, whereas data on medication reconciliation postdischarge are limited. Our data support the hypothesis that medication assessment and reconciliation by pharmacists 3 to 7 days postdischarge can decrease readmissions and provide cost savings.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care / economics
  • Ambulatory Care / methods
  • Cost Savings
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / economics
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration
  • Female
  • Group Practice / economics
  • Group Practice / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Reconciliation / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient-Centered Care / economics
  • Patient-Centered Care / organization & administration
  • Pharmacists / organization & administration*
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors