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Phone Calls Reduce Hospitalizations

April 11, 2014 – Purdue University study suggests that telephonic medication therapy management (MTM) can benefit lower risk Medicare patients following a hospitalization.

A new study revealed that low-risk Medicare patients entering home healthcare and receiving telephonic MTM were three times less likely to be hospitalized within the first two months. The study focused on elderly patients requiring home healthcare, who are often dealing with multiple chronic conditions and taking multiple medications.

The study was designed by a team of Purdue University researchers in collaboration with Amedisys, Inc., a home healthcare organization, and pharmacists from Curant Health. The study’s leader, Alan J. Zillich, PharmD, told Formulary Watch, “Clinical services regarding medication management provided by phramacists during the transition of care to home health can reduce hospitalization.”

According to Zillich, the most common types of medication-related errors are identified soon after transitions of care take place, and during these first few days it is important to verify active medications, review medication regimens, and resolve any problems that arise. Intervention therefore consisted of an initial phone call by a pharmacy technician, followed seven days later by a call from a pharmacist.

Interestingly, those at greater risk saw no benefit from the intervention, and the most dramatic results were seen in the lowest-risk group, as identified during in-home nursing assessments. Mr. Zillich theorized that those patients were perhaps better able to receive and retain guidance from a pharmacist over the phone and that face-to-face MTM would better help the higher-risk patients.


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