The Health Collaborative and Partners to Bring Pharmacists into Post-Discharge Care


Friday, May 30, 2014

The Health Collaborative, The Kroger Co. and University of Cincinnati Selected for National Foundation Grant to Study Medication Use During Care Transitions

Grant will study role of medication management in patient outcomes after a hospital stay

Cincinnati, OH – A partnership involving The Health Collaborative, The Kroger Co. and the University of Cincinnati’s James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy has received a $600,000 research grant from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation. The two-year study will involve 1,000 area patients and measure the impact of having a pharmacist work together with patients to manage their medications after a hospital stay.

“We are enthusiastic about this project not just because of the value it brings to patients, providers and our community as a whole, but also because we have the opportunity to work with one of our biggest local corporations to bring health and health care solutions to the community,” stated Craig Brammer, CEO of the Health Collaborative, HealthBridge and the Greater Cincinnati Health Council.

Nearly one in five Medicare patients is readmitted to a hospital within 30 days of discharge. Many of these readmissions are preventable. Hospital readmissions cost Medicare $26 billion in healthcare costs annually. Helping patients to use medications appropriately can be critical to preventing further complications and hospitalizations.

Under this new grant project, enrolled patients will receive medication management counseling through one of 45 Kroger pharmacies in the Cincinnati-Dayton Market area. The University of Cincinnati’s James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy will analyze and report on the study results.

“This important work will move pharmacists out from behind the counter to be part of the care team,” said Dr. Richard Shonk, Chief Medical Officer for the Health Collaborative, HealthBridge and the Greater Cincinnati Health Council. “We know that many patients and care givers struggle to manage medications and that leads to errors, so it follows that when there is Pharmacist support with patient education and care coordination, there is potential to improve outcomes.”

The Health Collaborative will involve its health care technology partner HealthBridge. HealthBridge will apply its information exchange technology so pharmacists, hospitals and doctors can share information about the patients in the study.

Additional partners include the Greater Cincinnati Health Council, American Mercy Home Care, UC Health, the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, UC Health West Chester Hospital, and selected Mercy Health Hospitals. Patients discharged from these facilities will have the opportunity to volunteer for pharmacist counseling. The project will focus on patients recovering

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Page 2 of 3 from heart attack, pneumonia, congestive heart failure, or an acute incident involving chronic

obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or Diabetes.

“Our Pharmacists will make appointments to meet with patients and care givers in person to reconcile medications, identify any issues, answer questions and provide suggestions for self management,” said Sukanya Madlinger, Cincinnati/Dayton Division President of the Kroger Co. “Pharmacists will also exchange information and collaborate with the patient’s primary care physician. This service is provided at no-charge to the patient.”

Following the initial meeting with the Kroger pharmacist, patients will also receive a follow-up phone call two-weeks after the in-person visit and again 30 days post-discharge. These check- ins ensure patients have timely answers to any questions about medications.

HealthBridge will connect hospitals and pharmacies electronically enabling them to send and securely receive a summary of a patient’s health record. In addition, HealthBridge and UC teams will work together to track readmissions for these patients.

“Our team of researchers will be comparing readmissions across the community to readmissions for patients enrolled in the study,” said Dr. Pamela Heaton of the University of Cincinnati’s James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy. “We expect to reduce readmissions by 20 percent in our study group.”

The Health Collaborative and its partners were selected from more than 30 high caliber proposals to the NACDS Foundation. Two other proposals received grants; The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy and Geisinger Center for Health Research in Pennsylvania.

“This research is so important to the advancement of patient care and we look forward to better understanding the impact of pharmacists’ collaboration with patients after they leave the hospital,” said NACDS Foundation President Kathleen Jaeger. “Too often hospital discharges lead to a revolving door of readmissions. But pharmacist-led medication management may help improve adherence, which can advance patient health, reduce hospital readmissions and help reduce unnecessary healthcare expenditures.”

About the Health Collaborative: The Health Collaborative assembles diverse community stakeholders; hospitals, physicians, insurers, patients, business, education, government and community members, with the goal of generating measurable, sustainable health improvement. The work of the Collaborative has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

About Kroger: Cincinnati/Dayton Division employs more than 20,000 associates who serve customers in 109 supermarkets (including 14 Marketplace stores), warehouses and offices in the Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Eastern Indiana, and Dayton areas. With more than 3000 groups participating in the Division’s Community Rewards Program, 4 million dollars was donated back to local non-profit organizations in 2013. The division focuses its charitable efforts on hunger relief, health and wellness initiatives, child welfare and grass roots organizations. For more information about Kroger, please visit

About the UC College of Pharmacy: The University of Cincinnati’s James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, one of the oldest pharmacy colleges in the United States, offers both professional practice (PharmD) and graduate (MS and PhD) degrees. Supported by an active research faculty, the college provides students with an opportunity to develop their individual skills. Graduates of the college have a high placement rate with professional and pharmaceutical employers. The most recent class of PharmD graduates achieved a 100 percent passing grade on the National Pharmacy Licensure Examination (NABPLEX).

About HealthBridge: Founded in 1997, HealthBridge started as a regional effort to improve health care quality by sharing health information electronically in the tri-state area. Today, HealthBridge is recognized as one of the nation’s largest, most advanced and most financially sustainable health information exchanges (HIE). HealthBridge’s innovative information network has grown to

encompass more than 30 hospitals, 800 physician practices, 7,500 physicians and five regional HIE partners in four states. HealthBridge’s secure electronic network sends more than 3 million electronic messages per month, including clinical lab tests, radiology reports, discharge summaries and other information vital to better care for more than 3 million patients.

About the Health Council: The Greater Cincinnati Health Council provides a unique forum for its members—more than 30 hospitals and 100 long-term care facilities— to come together to share best practices and collaborate on critical initiatives that create a stronger health care community. For more than 50 years, the Council has served as a trusted voice on hospital and health care issues for the Tristate region.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Press Contact:

Laura Randall