Walgreen Co.'s WellTransitions hospital discharge services program has been endorsed by the American Hospital Association for fostering medication adherence.

American Hospital Association, Walgreens, WellTransitions, hospital readmission rates, medication adherence, hospital discharge services, AHA Endorsement, drug chain, Joel Wright, Walgreens' pharmacy staff, Anthony Burke, AHA Solutions, medication nonadherence

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American Hospital Association endorses Walgreens WellTransitions

September 19th, 2013

CHICAGO – Walgreen Co.'s WellTransitions hospital discharge services program has been endorsed by the American Hospital Association for fostering medication adherence.

The AHA said Thursday that the Walgreens program has demonstrated reductions in hospital readmission rates by helping patients better understand prescription therapies during and after discharge. The drug chain introduced the program in October 2012.

AHA Solutions Inc., a subsidiary of the association, awards the exclusive AHA Endorsement to products and services that best support hospitals and health care organizations. Helping patients comply with their medication treatment plans after they are discharged is critical as hospitals work to improve health outcomes by reducing avoidable readmissions, AHA noted.

WellTransitions works with patients from the time they are admitted to the hospital through their discharge and return home. The program supports patient recovery through several hospital-to-home transition steps designed to improve wellness and lower the chance of readmission, while also boosting patient satisfaction and reducing overall care costs.

"Through WellTransitions, Walgreens' pharmacy staff works closely with the hospital team to improve the transition of patients to their homes by educating and encouraging them to take their medications as prescribed," Joel Wright, group vice president for enterprise specialty at Walgreens, said in a statement. "We're proud to be recognized by the AHA for the program's overall success and the impact WellTransitions is having on overall patient health.

"Medication nonadherence is a significant contributor to preventable readmissions," Wright noted, "and by providing this level of personalized care, we can play an important role in helping more people get, stay and live well."

Within the first six months after WellTransitions' implementation at five hospitals, participating patients had a 9.4% unadjusted rate of 30-day readmission, compared with a 14.3% 30-day readmission rate for patients eligible for but not participating in the program, AHA reported, citing Walgreens client data. The association added that a formal research study is planned to gauge the program's effect on hospital readmissions rates.

"The Walgreens WellTransitions program will serve as another tool for hospitals seeking to reduce readmissions and support overall community wellness," stated Anthony Burke, president and chief executive officer of AHA Solutions. "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."

To date, more than 15 hospitals have implemented WellTransitions since its launch. AHA said the program is currently being rolled out at more facilities nationwide, including at a growing number of the 170-plus hospitals where Walgreens operates an outpatient pharmacy.