AHA awards Walgreens program an exclusive endorsement

September 23, 2013

WellTransitions program helps improve health outcomes and lower hospital rates of hospital readmission through inpatient counseling and medication reconciliation provided by Walgreens pharmacists.

As insurers and health systems focus increasingly on ways to improve patient outcomes and lower costs, reduction of avoidable hospital readmissions has become a primary target. The American Hospital Association (AHA) recently recognized one innovative approach when it awarded Walgreens’ WellTransitions program its exclusive endorsement for medication adherence.

Presently operating in at least 15 hospitals, the program assigns Walgreens pharmacists to work with patients from intake to discharge, reconciling their medications, and counseling them in appropriate usage. The several steps involved in the process of seeing patients through their hospital experience and back to their homes achieve not only the primary goal of improving medication adherence and compliance with post-discharge treatment plans, but they also have been shown to reduce readmissions.

Preliminary assessments indicate that within the first six months of program implementation at five hospitals, WellTransitions patients had a 9.4% unadjusted rate of 30-day readmission, compared to a 14.3% 30-day readmission rate for patients who were eligible for the program but did not participate.

In addition, patient levels of satisfaction with the hospital and inpatient experience have risen.

Through its subsidiary AHA Solutions Inc., AHA annually awards six to eight exclusive endorsements in separate categories to products and services that best support hospitals and healthcare organizations. Among other benefits, recipients of the AHA endorsement receive exposure as exemplary solutions across its membership of 5,000 hospitals and 38,000 individuals.

In a prepared statement, Anthony J. Burke, president and CEO of AHA Solutions, said, “The Walgreens WellTransitions program will serve as another tool for hospitals seeking to reduce readmissions and support overall community wellness. We have endorsed this program for the broad scope of services that are provided through Walgreens’ extensive network of pharmacies and pharmacy services. Walgreens has consistently demonstrated its long-term commitment to supporting hospitals’ efforts to extend patient care further into their communities.”

According to Joel Wright, group vice president of enterprise specialty for Walgreens, “Medication nonadherence is a significant contributor to preventable readmissions, and by providing this level of personalized care, we can play an important role in helping more people get, stay, and live well.”

The WellTransitions program launched in 2012. A growing number of facilities throughout the United States are using it, including many of the more than 170 hospitals that house Walgreens outpatient pharmacies.