Explaining The Growth of Pharmacists in Clinics

Pharmacists in Clinics

As a profession, we know that we need to expand opportunities for pharmacists. I don’t have any data with this post to back me up, but I can “feel” the growth of pharmacists entering practice into clinics. This is a really good thing for pharmacists and more importantly patients.

I was prompted to write this post because a good friend called me to ask about ideas, struggles, and suggestions about how to start and grow a clinic ambulatory care position. One of the questions I’ve really thought about lately is why this type of clinical practice is growing despite the fact that nationwide provider status legislation has not occurred yet.

There are numerous reasons for growth. Here are a few reasons that most pharmacists cite when talking about growth.

  • More ways to get reimbursed through “incident to” billing
  • A shift towards value-based care
  • Recognition of the value a pharmacist can bring
  • We make providers’ lives easier

I “feel” like there is something more going on here to explain the growth. It seems to me that as the growth of clinical pharmacists in clinics continues, it almost acts as a flywheel of peer pressure.

Assuming that a clinic provider has a good experience (which I believe the overwhelming majority will) with a clinical pharmacist, this prompts them to accept, understand and believe that every clinic should have a pharmacist. It is in the best interest of their patients. If that provider moves on to a new clinic that doesn’t have a clinical pharmacist, they will begin asking the question…why doesn’t this clinic have a pharmacist? As this becomes more and more common, there will be more and more peer pressure for clinic administration to bring in more pharmacy personnel.

This is the latest data (from 2016) I could find from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

These stats are from 2016. If we could see the 2019 data, I would anticipate a drop in % of pharmacists who work in pharmacies and stores.

Maybe it’s just me, but I do feel that there are a lot of providers out there who have been wonderful advocates and are helping the growth of this role for pharmacy. I’m anticipating more and more growth and standardization of this practice which is really exciting to me and to the profession as a whole.

My objective for you today. If you know a provider who is an advocate for clinical pharmacy, ask them for continued support and to help encourage their colleagues at other clinics to ask why they don’t have a pharmacist in their clinic.

Considering becoming board certified in ambulatory care? Check out our list of study resources!

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Written By Eric Christianson

June 19, 2019

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