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Medication Management Interventions Reduced Avoidable Hospital Readmissions

Posted 11/6/2013 Categories: medication management, readmission rates, hospitalizations, research, home health

At Amedisys, we're dedicated to identifying post-acute care interventions that can help reduce avoidable hospital readmissions. That's why we worked with Purdue University and HealthStatRx to conduct a study that highlights a medication therapy management intervention to help patients better manage their medications and prevent unnecessary admissions and readmissions.

Our results showed that the patients in the moderate-risk category had a readmission rate that was eight percentage points lower than the patients in the control group.

The medication therapy management study focused on:

  • Risk-stratifying of patient population and modeling the probability of hospitalization during the home health episode of care.
  • Engaging a pharmacist to review patient charts for any possible triggers; with the pharmacist proactively notifying the Amedisys care team including the physician and home health caregivers if any issues were identified.
  • Having the pharmacist directly engage the patient via a phone call immediately upon admission to home health to educate them on their evaluation of their medication/s and also conducting follow-up calls directly with the patient between day seven and day 30.
  • Collaboration between the pharmacist, physician, patient and the Amedisys care team to resolve any identified problems.

“Our findings indicate that patients in risk level 1, who can take medications independently and have fairly good functional health, benefit from this type of intervention,” stated Dr. Alan J. Zillich, PharmD, Associate Professor of Pharmacy at Purdue University and lead investigator on this study.

“This study also shows that a strong relationship exists between the probability of hospitalization, the patient risk score and the total number of medications a patient is on,” stated Julie Lewis Sutherland, vice president of research and development for Amedisys. “Just as we hypothesized, post-acute care interventions can make a positive impact on preventing issues the elderly may have with their complicated medication regimes; ultimately resulting in lower readmissions.”

More than 40% of people over the age of 65 take five or more medications, and each year, about one-third of them experience a serious, adverse drug event, like a bone-breaking fall, disorientation, inability to urinate or even heart failure.

Read the full case study to learn more on how post-acute medication management can help reduce preventable hospitalizations and readmissions.

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Four Drugs Linked to Two-Thirds of Medication-Related Emergency Hospitalizations

Posted 12/1/2011 Categories: heart health, medication management, side effects, coumadin, diabetes, hospitalizations, insulin, warfarin, chronic care

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just published a report finding that most drug-related emergency hospitalizations result from a few common medications, not those typically thought of as "high-risk" drugs. The four medications or medication classes that were most frequently linked to hospitalizations were:

  • Warfarin (also called Coumadin)
  • Insulin
  • Oral anti-clotting drugs
  • Oral hypoglycemic drugs for diabetics

Patient education and improved medication management are critically important to help prevent emergency hospitalizations. Sixty-five percent of these hospitalizations were the result of unintentional overdoses. It's easy to be confused and make a medication mistake: the average Medicare patient with a chronic condition (like diabetes or heart disease) fills over 20 prescriptions a year. And a patient with five or more chronic conditions (which includes 20% of the Medicare population) fills an average of 49 prescriptions per year.

If you or your loved one aren't sure what to do if you miss a dose of medicine or what side-effects to watch out for, be sure to talk with your home health nurse. They're trained to help you understand your medications and take them safely, and may have resources - like drug guides, medication trackers and pill boxes - to help you manage your medications. Or if you're not receiving home health care, be sure to talk with your doctor.

The study, Emergency Hospitalizations for Adverse Drug Events in Older Americans, was published on November 24 by the New England Journal of Medicine.

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