Pharmacist Transition-of-Care Services Improve Patient Satisfaction and Decrease Hospital Readmissions

J Pharm Pract. 2022 Feb;35(1):86-93. doi: 10.1177/0897190020958264. Epub 2020 Sep 18.


Background: Pharmacists ability to directly impact patient satisfaction through increases in the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys utilizing transitions-of-care (TOC) services is unclear.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of TOC patients from 07/01/2018 to 03/31/2019 was conducted. Intervention (INV) patients received pharmacist medication reconciliation and education prior to discharge and post-discharge telephone follow-up. All other patients served as control group (CON). Primary outcome: Evaluate impact of TOC services on HCAHPS scores for "Communication about Medicines" and "Care Transitions." Secondary outcomes: 30-day readmissions, quantification of prevented potential safety events, assessment of discharge prescriptions sent to the academic medical center outpatient pharmacy (MOP) for TOC patients.

Results: Of 1,728 patients screened, 414 patients met inclusion criteria (INV = 414, CON = 1314). A significant improvement (14.7%; p = <0.0001) in overall medication-related HCAHPS results was seen when comparing pre- vs post-implementation of the TOC service. Statistically significant increases for individual questions "staff told you what the medicine was for" (14.2%; p = 0.018), "staff describe possible effects" (21.2%; p = 0.004), and "understood the purpose of taking medications" (11.4%; p = 0.035) were observed. A non-significant decrease in 30-day readmission rates for the groups was observed (CON 16.4%, INV 13.3%; p = 0.133); however, an unplanned subgroup analysis evaluating impact of discharge phone calls on 30-day readmission rates revealed a significant reduction of 17.3% to 12.4% (p = 0.007). One hundred forty-three medication safety event(s) were potentially prevented by the TOC pharmacist. Lastly, 562 prescriptions were captured at the MOP as a result of the TOC initiative.

Conclusions: Pharmacy-based TOC models can improve patient satisfaction, prevent hospital readmissions, and generate revenue.

Keywords: HCAHP; pharmacist; readmission; satisfaction; transitions of care.

MeSH terms

  • Aftercare
  • Humans
  • Medication Reconciliation
  • Patient Discharge
  • Patient Readmission*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Patient Transfer
  • Pharmacists
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital*
  • Professional Role
  • Retrospective Studies