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PHILADELPHIA, (June 15, 2012) – The Medication REACH program offered through the Pharmacy at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, was honored with an Achievement Award from the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) in the Patient Care category. The Medication REACH program (Reconciliation, Education, Access, Counseling, Healthy Patient at Home) is an innovative approach that implements best practices focused on safe medication management. With the goal of effectively coordinating the transition of patients from the hospital to home, Deborah Hauser, RPh, MHA, Pharmacy Director for Einstein Healthcare Network, devised the pilot project to assist high risk patients through direct pharmacist involvement prior to, and after discharge from the hospital.
Medication REACH is a multidisciplinary initiative involving nurses, nurse managers, social workers, care management, physicians and pharmacy residents. The care providers identify patient candidates for intervention through the discharge process. Dr. Angelo DeLuca, Associate Director of Clinical Pharmacy Services, along with pharmacy residents, performed the Medication REACH interventions on patients and tracked the activity of the program.
Launched in the fall of 2010 through a grant from the Albert Einstein Society, Einstein’s internal foundation, Medication REACH targeted patients at high risk for readmission to the hospital – those with congestive heart failure, heart attack or hypertension. A control group of patients who did not receive the Medication REACH intervention was set up for comparison. This group received the traditional discharge education and counseling. Both groups were similar with respect to age, sex, ethnicity and prior medical histories. The efforts resulted in more than a 42 percent reduction in 30-day inpatient readmission rate for the patients who received the Medication REACH intervention compared to the control group. Due to its success, the program continues to be implemented with this group of patients.
“It’s gratifying to have our initiative recognized by HAP and to share this model with fellow healthcare providers,” says Deborah Hauser. Elements of the Medication REACH program include:
Reconciliation – performed to avoid medication errors and involves comparing the medication list the patient brings from home to both the list of medications used in the hospital and the list the patient is sent home with. The list is carefully reviewed, making sure that new medications prescribed in the hospital are included and medications no longer being used are removed.
Patient centered Education – involves face-to-face interaction with a pharmacist at the patient’s bedside prior to discharge from the hospital. The pharmacist explains what the medication(s) is used for, the dose, the schedule, and any potential side effects, and teaches the patient how to organize medications in a pill organizer.
Access – the Einstein pharmacist makes sure patients have access to the medications they need and performs any necessary troubleshooting to achieve this.
Counseling – the pharmacist counsels patients by phone within 72 hours after discharge and again before 30 days after they have been hospitalized. These sessions reinforce the education provided in the hospital and offer an opportunity to address any questions or concerns.
A Healthy, compliant patient at home is the ultimate goal of the Medication REACH program.