RETRACTED: Pharmacist-Led Discharge Medication Counseling and its Corresponding Impact on Medication Adherence and Hospital Readmission Rates

  • Savannah Cunningham Mercer University College of Pharmacy
  • Joshua D. Kinsey Mercer University College of Pharmacy
Keywords: Bedside Delivery, Specialty Pharmacy, Patient Counseling, Transitions of Care, Adherence, Follow-up Care, Hospital Readmission


This article has been retracted: please see INNOVATIONS in pharmacy retraction policy ( The authors and editors have agreed to voluntarily retract the article due to allegations of erroneous use of an assessment tool.  

Objectives: Pharmacists have been shown to reduce hospital readmission rates and improve adherence rates by providing discharge medication counseling and offering services such as a bedside delivery program.1 Hospitals are now penalized by Medicare if patients are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, so implementation of these programs have the potential to be financially significant as well.2 The primary endpoint of this study is to evaluate the impact of a pharmacist discharge medication counseling bedside delivery program on medication adherence rates within a six-week period following discharge. The secondary endpoint focuses on hospital readmission rates. The objective of this study is to increase collaboration between community pharmacies and hospitals in order to improve the quality of patient care.

Methods: This study was designed as intervention versus control, whereas the intervention patients were those who received counseling from a pharmacist or pharmacist intern and control patients were those who did not within the same time period. Collected patient data (n=81) included patients’ demographic data and all disease states, genders, and insurance coverage were encompassed by the included patients. Medication adherence was measured at follow-up intervals utilizing the proportion of days covered (PDC) equation, where a score of at least 80% is required for optimal therapeutic efficacy. Informed consent was obtained from all participants regarding a follow-up telephone call or retrieval of medication records through the pharmacy electronic medication records system and hospital electronic medical records system. Approximately 10-15-minute counseling sessions were performed at the time of discharge. Follow-up phone calls were conducted for the intervention group at four-weeks and six-weeks post-discharge to discuss medication adherence and side effects experienced.

Results: There was a total of 81 patients enrolled in this study. There were 27 patients in the intervention group and 54 patients in the control group. The pharmacist-led discharge counseling sessions made a statistically significant difference in medication adherence rates (p<0.001) as calculated using PDC, showing adherence rates of 84.4% in the intervention group and 62.8% in the control group. The pharmacist-led discharge counseling sessions made a statistically significant difference in hospital readmission rates (p=0.022), with a 24% readmission rate in the control group and a 3% readmission rate in the intervention group.

Conclusion: Pharmacist involvement in a bedside delivery program helps to improve medication adherence in patients being discharged from a hospital. A PDC of at least 80% is required for optimal therapeutic efficacy in most classes of chronic medications, and only the intervention arm reached this threshold.3 The findings also show a statistically significant reduction in hospital readmission rates for patients receiving a pharmacist-led discharge counseling session.


Article Type: Original Research


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Received 2020-06-19
Accepted 2020-07-15
Published 2020-09-03
Practice-Based Research