AIMS: To implement pharmacist-led, postdischarge telephone follow-up (TFU) intervention and to evaluate its impact on rehospitalization parameters in polypharmacy patients, via comparison with a well-matched control group.
METHOD: Pragmatic, prospective, quasi-experimental study. Intervention patients were matched by propensity score techniques with a control group. Guided by results from a pilot study, clinical pharmacists implemented TFU intervention, added to routine integrated medicines management service.
RESULTS: Using an intention to treat approach, reductions in 30- and 90-day readmission rates for intervention patients compared with controls were 9.9% [odds ratio = 0.57; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.36-0.90; P < 0.001] and 15.2% (odds ratio = 0.53; 95% CI: 0.36-0.79; P = 0.021) respectively. Marginal mean time to readmission was 70.9 days (95% CI: 66.9-74.9) for intervention group compared with 60.1 days (95% CI: 55.4-64.7) for controls. Mean length of hospital stay compared with control was (8.3 days vs. 6.7 days; P < 0.001). Benefit: cost ratio for 30-day readmissions was 29.62, and 23.58 for 90-day interval. Per protocol analyses gave more marked improvements. In intervention patients, mean concern scale score, using Beliefs about Medicine Questionnaire, was reduced 3.2 (95% CI: -4.22 to -2.27; P < 0.001). Mean difference in Medication Adherence Report Scale was 1.4 (22.7 vs. 24.1; P < 0.001). Most patients (83.8%) reported having better control of their medicines after the intervention.
CONCLUSIONS: Pharmacist-led postdischarge structured TFU intervention can reduce 30- and 90-day readmission rates. Positive impacts were noted on time to readmission, length of hospital stay upon readmission, healthcare costs, patient beliefs about medicines, patient self-reported adherence and satisfaction.