Integration of Clinical Pharmacy In Primary Care

Clinical pharmacy is an evolving practice.  We need to continue to push for an expanded role.  Too many patients can benefit from what we do as pharmacists.  One of the things that I’m working on is integrating clinical pharmacy in primary care.

I want to identify a few major hurdles that I have encountered and will encourage others who have worked with primary care to share theirs as well.  I also wanted to share this really good article on primary care and clinical pharmacy.

Here’s a few important points I’ve learned.

  1. Understand what your providers don’t like about medication management or what they really struggle with.  This is a unique opportunity to provide a solution to a problem and really demonstrate value.  An example of this would be to identify that your clinic has a challenging time with timely follow up of patients following medication changes.
  2. Respectfully eavesdropping.  If you hear nurses and/or providers clearly talking about medication related problem, quietly interject and say “I couldn’t help but overhear you talking about (insert concern)…can I help in some way?
  3. Encourage questions.  By having a kind spirit and a desire to solve problems even when there isn’t a good solution, this increases your approachability and will likely help you get integrated into your clinic.

These are just a few examples of how to help integrate clinical pharmacy in primary care.  Below is a list really important bullet points from the article linked in the first part of the post.

  • Determine the needs and priorities of the team and its patients
  • Develop a pharmacist job description
  • Educate the team about the pharmacist role
  • Educate themselves about other team members’ roles
  • Ensure clinic infrastructure supports the pharmacist role
  • Be highly visible and accessible to the team
  • Ensure their skills are strong and up to date
  • Provide proactive care and take responsibility for patient outcomes
  • Regularly seek feedback from the team
  • Develop and maintain professional relationships with other team members

What else would you add?

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Written By Eric Christianson

January 1, 2017

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