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Pharmacy Aligns With Hospitals to Reduce Readmissions

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, October 16, 2012

Pharmacy giant Walgreens announced a program Tuesday that it believes will help hospitals reduce readmissions by using pharmacists to coordinate patient care during admission and discharge.

Hospitals are under the gun to lower readmission rates since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) started assessing financial penalties October 1.

At its core, Walgreen's program, called WellTransitions, lifts the burden of medicine reconciliation off of the patient, and off hospital staff.  Exact details about medications are easy for patients to forget, and nurses need the information to do a proper workup, says Joel Wright, Vice President of Health Systems Operations for the retailer.

"When a patient is admitted, we would be brought in, and we would help provide medication history, rather than starting with a blank sheet of paper. You know, my dad went in and he's like, 'Well, I'm on a blue pill for my water.' So, this gives that nurse a starting point to have that conversation with the patient to really understand what that patient is on," says Wright.

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