Impact of Adding Pharmacists and Comprehensive Medication Management to a Medical Group's Transition of Care Services

Med Care. 2021 Jun 1;59(6):519-527. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000001520.


Objectives: Evaluate the impact of pharmacist-provided transition of care (TOC) services on hospital readmissions.

Methods: Starting March 2014, TOC services were provided to all hospitalized patients from an at-risk medical group. Data covering all inpatient and outpatient services and prescription drugs were retrieved for all adult patients discharged between January 2010 and December 2018. The overall impact of TOC was estimated using a generalized estimating equation with logistic regression. Longitudinal TOC effects were estimated using generalized estimating equation in an interrupted time series model. Parallel analyses were conducted using data from an affiliated medical group in a neighboring county without access to the TOC intervention.

Results: The study included 13,256 hospital discharges for adult patients for the 30-day readmission analysis and 10,740 discharges for the 180 days analysis. The TOC program reduced 30-day readmission risk by 34.9% [odds ratio (OR)=0.651 (range, 0.590-0.719)] and 180-day readmissions by 33.4% [OR=0.666 (range, 0.604-0.735)]. The interrupted time series results found the 30-day readmission rate to be stable over the pre-TOC period (OR=0.00; not significant) then to decreased by 1.5% per month in the post-TOC period [OR=0.985 (range, 0.980-0.991)]. For 180-day readmissions, risk decreased by 1% per month after TOC implementation [OR=0.990 (range, 0.984-0.996)]. Referral to the medical group's pre-existing Priority Care clinic also reduced readmission risk. Results from the comparison medical group found 180-day readmission declined by 1% per month after March 2014 [OR=0.990 (0.891-1.00)].

Conclusions: Adding a pharmacist-led TOC program to the medical group's existing outpatient services reduced 30- and 180-day readmissions by "bending the curve" for readmission risk over time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care / organization & administration
  • California
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interrupted Time Series Analysis
  • Male
  • Medication Therapy Management / organization & administration*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Transfer*
  • Pharmacists*