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!

Study Materials and Resources For Healthcare Professionals and Students – Amazon Books


  1. Matthew B Zimmerman, Pharm.D.,MHA,CMTM

    Eric, this is a really good article. Let me explain an experience I had just yesterday. I’m a diabetic patient and pharmacist and had a visit with my primary care doctor. By chance, a lot of health care students were there for the day. I told my primary care doctor I needed help applying a Abbott 14 Day Libre CGM patch. I ended up providing a 20 minute inservice to the students while I had the CGM patch applied. I loved every minute of it.

    • Eric Christianson

      Great example!

  2. Larry Kīmani

    Good read

  3. Askar Nadjafov

    This is a great article. I was very interested in this field and was researching a lot about how the pharmacist can be involved in clinics and medical offices. However, there are not that many resources. Most of the references are on MTMs. Any suggestions where to get more info? But i believe this is the future because the population is aging. I see so many mistakes when the patients get admitted to the hospital and some many things that we can change or recommend, but these mistakes are coming from outside. So the outside source of mistakes is where clinical pharmacists can make a huge impact, however we need more resources to make this happen. Please share if you know where to look.

  4. Natalia Perry

    There has been a drop in the number of Pharmacist in retail settings. The decrease in numbers is due to store closures. Pharmacist need more opportunities in a hospital setting. I believe ambulatory care would great because it encompasses all disease states . Pharmacist should be chosen to work in this type of settings because they are very knowledgeable and would increase better patient health outcomes.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Written By Eric Christianson

June 19, 2019

Study Materials For Pharmacists


Explore Categories