Medication reconciliation program slashed 30-day readmissions by half

A mortar and pestle

An insurer-led care transition program led by pharmacists and focusing on medication reconciliation reduced the risk of 30-day hospital readmissions by 50 percent and saved $2 for every $1 spent for a total mean savings of $1,347 per member, according to a study published in Health Affairs.

Adverse drug events contribute to up to two-thirds of 30-day readmissions, the study noted. Most care transition and medication reconciliation programs are managed by hospitals and other providers. One program in California, for example, found that 79 percent of patients discharged over a six-month period required reconciliation of their medication lists, and 53 percent needed some sort of change or intervention to their therapies.

The study provided evidence that “an insurer-supported program, independent of provider programs, can reduce both readmission rates and the costs of care,” the researchers concluded. 

Free Daily Newsletter

Like this story? Subscribe to FierceHealthcare!

The healthcare sector remains in flux as policy, regulation, technology and trends shape the market. FierceHealthcare subscribers rely on our suite of newsletters as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data impacting their world. Sign up today to get healthcare news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

The unidentified insurer and its pharmacy benefit manager, CVS Health, identified members at high risk for readmission. Pharmacists reconciled members’ medication, provided personalized adherence education and shared patient care plans with providers, according to the study. 

Program participants had a 50 percent reduced relative risk of readmission within 30 days of discharge, and an absolute risk reduction of  about 11 percent. 

- see the study abstract

Suggested Articles

States that spend more on primary care have better outcomes, including fewer hospitalizations and emergency department visits, says a new study.

Unsubsidized families faced lower premiums and deductibles on the exchanges in 2019, but costs topped $25,000, report says.

Technology company Philips has acquired Boston-based startup Medumo, the developer of patient navigation and engagement solutions.