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Pharmacist-Conducted Discharge Medication Reconciliation Impact on COPD Readmission Rates

September 16, 2019

Having a pharmacist conduct medication reconciliation at patient discharge did not affect 30-day readmission rates for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study published online in the Journal of Pharmacy Practice. 

The finding stemmed from a retrospective chart review of 50 patients with COPD who received pharmacist-conducted discharge medication reconciliation. Another 65 patients with COPD who did not receive the service served as a control group. 

Some 25% of patients in the control group were readmitted to the hospital for any cause within 30 days compared with 26% of patients who received pharmacist-conducted medication reconciliation at discharge, according to the study. The rate of COPD-related readmissions was also similar between the groups: 12.3% for the control group and 12.6% for the group that received pharmacist medication reconciliation. 

The small sample size of the study, as well as passive pharmacist education about discharge medication reconciliation for patients with COPD and discharge issues, were confounding factors, researchers noted. 

The study also investigated common medication errors among patients who were readmitted.  

“Medication dose or frequency errors consisted of 68.9% and 46.7% of total errors in the control and the intervention groups, respectively,” researchers wrote. “Long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) or long-acting beta 2-agonist (LABA) were the most common drug classes to be incorrectly dosed or omitted at discharge.”  

Out of 30 medication errors identified during discharge medication reconciliation, pharmacists intervened in 13, researchers reported, citing an inability to coordinate discharges. Among the 13 interventions, seven were ultimately accepted by the prescriber. 

Jolynn Tumolo


Singh D, Fahim G, Ghin HL, Mathis S. Effects of pharmacist-conducted medication reconciliation at discharge on 30-day readmission rates of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [published online August 25, 2019]. J Pharm Pract. doi: 10.1177/0897190019867241

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