Several studies have identified the post-discharge period as a time of vulnerability for patients, and an opportunity exists to improve patient care. Adverse drug events are the most common events leading to complications during the post-discharge period. Recent studies have shown that using a scripted medication reconciliation process improves the quality of patient care. Does a phone call from a medical resident within 72 hours after hospital discharge improve patient satisfaction and quality of care? Does this exercise result in improved attitudes and competence for practice-based learning, and improvement and system-based practice of participating residents? This was a prospective randomized study comparing 1 group of patients that received a medication reconciliation phone call from a medical resident within 72 hours after discharge with a control group that did not receive a call. Adult patients aged ≥ 18 years on a medical resident service for ≥ 2 days and being discharged to home were invited to participate. The primary endpoint of the study was patient satisfaction. Secondary endpoints included readmission rates, emergency department visits, follow-up with the primary care provider, and resident attitudes and competence. The primary and secondary endpoints did not reach statistical significance. However, a medication reconciliation error occurred in 48% of patients, and 93% of residents agreed that the phone call was beneficial to patient care. Although patient satisfaction was not improved from this exercise, a follow-up call to patients after hospital discharge can identify otherwise missed medication reconciliation errors. Medical residents found the phone call to be worthwhile and gained valuable insight into their own discharge practices as demonstrated by self-reflection and intended change in discharge practices.
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