Preventing harm from medications, or adverse drug events (ADEs) is critical to maintaining patient safety and reducing hospital readmissions. Confirming each drug’s details – including the drug name, dosage, frequency and route – can be effective in preventing ADEs and minimize the risk for readmission. Readmission rates have increasingly been used as an outcome measure in health services research and as a quality benchmark for health systems.
The AHRQ National Resource Center for Health Information Technology has shared insight into how teams using a virtual care platform can support medication reconciliation and patient education. Because US health care systems are fragmented, a team-based approach is desirable to coordinate the activities of various care providers. Several AHRQ-funded projects reported that utilizing a virtual care platform fostered and supported team-based care at their organizations. These grantees reported that a virtual care communication platform can improve an organization’s work and safety culture.
- One project utilized virtual meetings to connect nurses at 10 community hospitals with a remote, after-hours pharmacist. This program was successful in encouraging nursing staff to collaborate with the pharmacy staff on medication reconciliation and error issues.
- Another project created online communities of practice among clinicians to foster collaboration in addressing community health issues. In addition, Rural clinic staff members also participated in the virtual care program by providing enhanced patient education.
To better support discharged patients/members, case managers and care coordinators can use virtual care solutions to connect with the individual – and include a pharmacist, as needed – in order to conveniently review all medications prescribed in one’s discharge orders. Virtual visits can help patients/members become better informed, engaged, and on track with their treatment plans:
- Informed:Medical staff and pharmacists can inform a patient of the rationale for the new treatment plan medication and also convey the routine prescribed for adherence.
- Engaged:Patients can participate in the virtual visit with medical staff and pharmacists at their convenience – from any device, at any time, and from anywhere – which allows the patients to have a conversation in a more familiar and comfortable setting
- On Track: Virtual visits provide medical staff with the opportunity to share patient education and explain to patients/members (and their caregivers) what is now different about their medications, why those changes were made, and what side effects may occur.
With a virtual care communication platform, your staff can optimize patient care by addressing medication reconciliation issues which can minimize the risk of readmission.