The Impact of a Novel Outpatient Telepharmacy Service on Hospital Admissions

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Background: Avoidable hospital admissions put increased pressure on already-strained healthcare resources, causing emotional and financial distress for patients and their families while taxing the health system. Pharmacists are responsible for optimizing pharmacotherapy by minimizing adverse drug reactions, increasing medication adherence, and educating patients on how best to take their medications. Telepharmacy allows for personalized interaction between the patient and pharmacist without many of the distractions typically encountered in an outpatient or inpatient clinical environment. The primary aim of this report is to explore the impact a personalized telepharmacy service has on hospital admission rate in an outpatient population. Methods: A retrospective, multi-site comparative trial was performed. Hospital admission rates were tracked from 2019 to 2020 in an experimental group that opted into the telepharmacy service [n=2242] and compared to the control group opted out of the telepharmacy service [n=1540]. Retrospective statistical analysis was performed to explore how hospitalization rates changed in each group. Results: Patients opted into the telepharmacy service demonstrated reduced hospital admission rates from 2019 to 2020 versus the patients in the opt out group [opt in: 12.86% vs. opt out: 40.23%, p < 0.05, Student t-test]. Discussion: Patients receiving telepharmacy services demonstrated reduced hospital admissions when compared to patients not receiving these services. While this represents a preliminary investigation into the potential impacts of telepharmacy on hospitalization rates, telepharmacy services may have a role in improving patient outcomes and cost savings.

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2021 Annual HU Research Symposium

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