A Review of the Role of the Pharmacist in Heart Failure Transition of Care

Adv Ther. 2018 Mar;35(3):311-323. doi: 10.1007/s12325-018-0671-7. Epub 2018 Feb 27.


This article reviews current literature on the role of pharmacists in the transition of care (TOC) for patients with heart failure (HF) and the impact of their contributions on therapeutic and economic outcomes. Optimizing the TOC for patients with HF from the hospital to the community/home is crucial for improving outcomes and decreasing high rates of hospital readmissions, which are associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and costs. A multidisciplinary team approach to the management of patients with HF facilitates the transition from the hospital to the ambulatory care setting, allowing for the consideration of medical, pharmacological, and lifestyle variables that impact the care of individual patients. Pharmacist participation on both inpatient and outpatient teams can provide a variety of services that have been shown to reduce hospital readmission rates and benefit patient management and treatment. These include medication reconciliation, patient education, medication dosage titration and adjustment, patient monitoring, development of disease management pathways, promotion of medication adherence, and postdischarge follow-up. In addition, as new pharmacologic treatments for HF become available, pharmacists can raise awareness of optimal drug use by maximizing education related to efficacy (e.g., adherence) and safety (e.g., potential side effects and drug interactions). Improving understanding of HF and its treatment will enable increased pharmacist involvement in the TOC that should lead to improved outcomes and reduced healthcare costs.

Funding: Novartis.

Keywords: Cardiology; Care transitions; Healthcare quality; Heart failure; Medication adherence; Medication reconciliation; Medication therapy management; Multidisciplinary care; Patient care team; Sacubitril/valsartan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Medication Reconciliation / organization & administration*
  • Medication Therapy Management / standards
  • Patient Discharge / standards*
  • Patient Transfer / methods
  • Patient Transfer / organization & administration
  • Pharmacists / standards
  • Professional Role