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Telephone Care Helps Some Medicare Patients

Medicare Patients And Low-risk Medicare patients who are getting home health care appear to benefit from medication management therapy conducted via phone, but that procedure doesn’t work for higher-risk patients, a new study shows.

The study, conducted by researchers from Purdue University, aimed to see which patients benefit the most from medication management via telephone.

"Hopefully, this study will help home health care providers target the intervention to those who it will help," said Alan Zillich, associate professor of pharmacy practice at Purdue, who led the research. "It also tells us there are some patients for whom medication therapy management by phone doesn't work and that we need a different strategy to help these patients."

The nationwide study followed 895 patients from 40 home health care centers run by the company Amedisys. Intervention consisted of an initial phone call from a pharmacy technician to verify active medications. A pharmacist then conducted medication regimen review and follow-up phone calls one week later and as needed for 30 days.

The results showed no overall significant difference in the 60-day probability of hospitalization for those who received medication management therapy by phone versus those who did not. However, when the patients were evaluated based on their risk profiles, those in the lowest-risk group who received the service were three times more likely to remain out of the hospital 60 days after entering into home health care.

The findings were published in the journal Health Services Research

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