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

C.R. Freeman*, I.A. Scott, K. Hemming, L.B. Connelly, C.M. Kirkpatrick, I. Coombes, J. Whitty, J. Martin, N. Cottrell, N. Sturman, G.M. Russell, I. Williams, C. Nicholson, S. Kirsa, H. Foot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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


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


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