Continuity of care when patients transfer between care settings has been identified as a national priority. But peer-reviewed research assessing the efficacy of transfer of care initiatives involving community pharmacists in the UK is lacking.
Reporting in BMJ Open
(14 October 2016), researchers evaluated an electronic referral system used by two hospitals in Newcastle-upon-Tyne that allows staff to transfer patients’ medicines records to a nominated community pharmacy for follow-up.
In the first 13 months of the service, 2,029 inpatients were referred but only 619 (31%) completed a follow-up consultation. However, the team found that patients who did attend a follow-up were significantly less likely to be readmitted to hospital at 30, 60 and 90 days after discharge.
The authors say the results support the feasibility of electronic referral systems for improving the coordination of care for patients transitioning to the community.