Reducing Medical Admissions and Presentations Into Hospital through Optimising Medicines (REMAIN HOME) Study: a stepped-wedge cluster randomised controlled trial

Christopher R. Freeman, Ian A. Scott, Karla Hemming, Luke B. Connelly, Carl M. Kirkpatrick, Ian Coombes, Jennifer Whitty, James Martin, Neil Cottrell, Nancy Sturman, Grant M. Russell, Ian Williams, Caroline Nicholson, Sue Kirsa, Holly Foot

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Objective: To investigate whether integrating pharmacists into general practices reduces the number of unplanned re-admissions of patients recently discharged from hospital. Design, setting: Stepped wedge, cluster randomised trial in 14 general practices in southeast Queensland. Participants: Adults discharged from one of seven study hospitals during the seven days preceding recruitment (22 May 2017 ‒ 14 March 2018) and prescribed five or more long term medicines, or having a primary discharge diagnosis of congestive heart failure or exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Intervention: Comprehensive face-to-face medicine management consultation with an integrated practice pharmacist within seven days of discharge, followed by a consultation with their general practitioner and further pharmacist consultations as needed. Major outcomes: Rates of unplanned, all-cause hospital re-admissions and emergency department (ED) presentations 12 months after hospital discharge; incremental net difference in overall costs. Results: By 12 months, there had been 282 re-admissions among 177 control patients (incidence rate [IR], 1.65 per person-year) and 136 among 129 intervention patients (IR, 1.09 per person-year; fully adjusted IR ratio [IRR], 0.79; 95% CI, 0.52‒1.18). ED presentation incidence (fully adjusted IRR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.22‒0.94) and combined re-admission and ED presentation incidence (fully adjusted IRR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.48‒0.99) were significantly lower for intervention patients. The estimated incremental net cost benefit of the intervention was $5072 per patient, with a benefit‒cost ratio of 31:1. Conclusion: A collaborative pharmacist‒GP model of post-hospital discharge medicines management can reduce the incidence of hospital re-admissions and ED presentations, achieving substantial cost savings to the health system. Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12616001627448 (prospective).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-217
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number5
Early online date12 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Continuity of patient care
  • General practice
  • Pharmacy
  • Primary care

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