A US study has found that over a quarter of hospital re-admissions were medication-related and preventable

The study, published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, also highlighted the key role played by pharmacists.

It examined incidents recorded under the Pharm2Pharm model, implemented in various parts of Hawaii.

A “quality improvement practice” was implemented by hospital consulting pharmacists who were deployed as part of a pharmacist-led intervention aiming to reduce medication-related hospitalisations amongst high-risk patients.

The practice included the identification and categorisation of potentially preventable medication-related hospital admissions.

The pharmacists systematically assessed readmissions of high-risk patients enrolled in the Pharm2Pharm care transition model to determine why they had been admitted, and whether the case was potentially preventable and medication-related.

A quality improvement practice was applied to 401 readmissions, reviewed by the pharmacists over a 14-month period.

The study found that 26% of the readmissions were potentially preventable and medication-related.

“The most common categories were non-adherence due to patient choice (23.8%), untreated condition for which medication is indicated (13.3%), dose too high (10.5%), and dose too low (10.5%),” the authors wrote.

These data suggest that pharmacists could play a key role in getting patients on the right medications and at the right doses, the authors say.

“The percent of readmissions that were potentially preventable and medication-related was significantly higher in more rural areas (30%) compared to urban (17%).”

They concluded that, “This systematic and actionable approach to reviewing and categorizing potentially preventable medication-related admissions can facilitate improvement in care as well as document the value of pharmacists serving in patient care roles.”

While the practice was developed in the context of the Pharm2Pharm model, the authors say this kind of assessment and categorisation of potentially preventable medicines-based admissions could be used “in any setting where pharmacists are deployed to reduce medication-related admissions through the identification and resolution of drug therapy problems”.