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Hosp Pediatr. 2017 Dec;7(12):723-730. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2017-0053. Epub 2017 Nov 7.

Pediatric Patient-Centered Transitions From Hospital to Home: Improving the Discharge Medication Process.

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Departments of Pediatrics and
Departments of Pediatrics and.
Department of Pharmacy, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine.
Nursing, The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine; and.



Medications prescribed at hospital discharge can lead to patient harm if there are access barriers or misunderstanding of instructions. Filling prescriptions before discharge can decrease these risks. We aimed to increase the percentage of patients leaving the hospital with new discharge medications in hand to 70% by 18 months.


We used sequential plan-do-study-act cycles from January 2015 to September 2016. We used statistical process control charts to track process measures, new medications filled before discharge, and rates of bedside delivery with pharmacist teaching to the inpatient pediatric unit. Outcome measures included national patient survey data, collected and displayed quarterly, as well as caregiver understanding, comparing inaccuracy of medication teach-back with and without medications in hand before discharge.


Rates of patients leaving the hospital with medications in hand increased from a baseline of 2% to 85% over the study period. Bedside delivery reached 71%. Inaccuracy of caregiver report during a postdischarge phone call decreased from 3.3% to 0.7% (P < .05) when medications were in hand before discharge. Patient satisfaction with education of new medication side effects increased from 50% to 88%.


By using an engaged interprofessional team, we optimized use of our on-site outpatient pharmacy and increased the percentage of pediatric patients leaving the hospital with new discharge medications in hand to >80%. This, accompanied by increased rates of bedside medication delivery and pharmacist teaching, was associated with improvements in caregiver discharge-medication related experience and understanding.

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