Limited pharmacy access is one of the causes of rising readmission rates among seniors, according to new findings. This trend is particularly common in rural, remote, or smaller communities. Hospital readmission costs the U.S. $17 billion annually. The findings are based on data analysis involving patients over 65, as well as 507 pharmacies and 58 hospitals.
The average readmission rate was 15.3 percent in rural areas, compared to 14.7 percent in cities.
Study author David Lee said, “It’s a huge burden both on a patient and our medical system when they have to be readmitted to a hospital. The modern pharmaceutical profession is increasingly being recognized as an important partner in health care, and as its services continue to expand it will help even more. This research shows that pharmacy access can help people from going back to the hospital. The sooner a person gets out and stays out of a hospital, the better off they usually will be.”
In rural areas, pharmacies are often situated further away from people’s homes, with shorter hours of operation, compared to pharmacies in the cities.