Patient Perspectives on Medication Use after Hospital Discharge

1Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA

Meeting: Hospital Medicine 2007, May 23-25, Dallas, Texas

Abstract number: 37


Patients often have trouble managing their medications after hospital discharge, and adults with limited literacy skills may face added difficulties. These problems and their potential solutions are not well characterized.


Patients admitted to an inner‐city hospital with acute coronary syndromes completed a questionnaire that included the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine. They were interviewed by phone 1‐2 weeks after discharge to report if and when they had filled their discharge prescriptions. Patients also described their understanding of the regimen, medication adherence (using a 10‐item scale), barriers to adherence, and enablers of proper medication use.


Of the 100 patients interviewed in the hospital, 84 were successfully contacted after discharge. Most were male (58%) and African American (88%). Mean age was 54.5 years, and 44% read below the 7th‐grade level. Only 79% of patients had filled their discharge prescriptions before the follow‐up phone call. Among them, 51% filled prescriptions on the day of discharge, 25% did so within 2 days, and 24% waited more than 2 days. Many patients reported it was somewhat or very difficult to understand the purpose of the medications (20%), to know how to take new medications (11%), or to reconcile the new prescriptions with the medications they were taking before hospitalization (16%). Literacy was significantly associated with understanding the purpose of the medications (P < .05) but not with the prescription fill date, understanding how to take the medications, or self‐reported adherence. Transportation, cost, and waiting in line at the pharmacy were cited as the main barriers to adherence. Patients reported that several forms of assistance could improve medication use after discharge, including lower medication costs (75%), a follow‐up phone call to review medications (68%), transportation to the pharmacy (65%), pharmacist counseling before discharge (64%), additional information about new medications (59%) and which medications to stop (61%), and a pill box (54%).


Patients commonly delay filling prescriptions and have difficulty understanding medication regimens after hospital discharge. Interventions should focus on reducing medication costs, providing transportation, improving medication counseling, and providing organizing aids such as pill boxes.

Author Disclosure:

S. Kripalani, None; L. Henderson, None; T. A. Jacobson, None; V. Vaccarino, None.

To cite this abstract:

Kripalani S, Henderson L, Jacobson T, Vaccarino V. Patient Perspectives on Medication Use after Hospital Discharge. Abstract published at Hospital Medicine 2007, May 23-25, Dallas, Texas Abstract 37. Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2007; 2 (suppl 2). Accessed April 10, 2020.

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