Implementation of a Pharmacist-Led Transitions of Care Program within a Primary Care Practice: A Two-Phase Pilot Study

Pharmacy (Basel). 2020 Jan 4;8(1):4. doi: 10.3390/pharmacy8010004.


Pharmacists in primary care settings have unique opportunities to address the causes of ineffective care transitions. The objective of this study is to describe the implementation of a multifaceted pharmacist transitions of care (TOC) intervention integrated into a primary care practice and evaluate the effectiveness of the program. This was a two-phase pilot study describing the development, testing, and evaluation of the TOC program. In Phase 1, the TOC intervention was implemented in a general patient population, while Phase 2 focused the intervention on high-risk patients. The two pilot phases were compared to each other (Phase 1 vs. Phase 2) and to a historical control group of patients who received usual care prior to the intervention (Phase 1 and Phase 2 vs. control). The study included 138 patients in the intervention group (Phase 1: 101 and Phase 2: 37) and 118 controls. At baseline, controls had a significantly lower LACE index, shorter length of stay, and a lower number of medications at discharge, indicating less medical complexity. A total of 344 recommendations were provided over both phases, approximately 80% of which were accepted. In adjusted models, there were no significant differences in 30-day all-cause readmissions between Phase 2 and controls (aOR 0.78; 95% CI 0.21-2.89; p = 0.71) or Phase 1 (aOR 0.99; 95% CI 0.30-3.37; p = 0.99). This study successfully implemented a pharmacist-led TOC intervention within a primary care setting using a two-phase pilot design. More robust studies are needed in order to identify TOC interventions that reduce healthcare utilization in a cost-effective manner.

Keywords: pilot study; primary care; readmissions; transitions of care.