Is There a Pharmacist in the House? PCPs Love their Pharmacists

JULY 12, 2017
Jeannette Y. Wick, RPh, MBA, FASCP
Pharmacists’ roles are expanding from traditional retail settings, allowing them to be more involved in patient care than ever before. Clinical pharmacists run disease state management clinics, provide medication therapy management (MTM), and more in primary care settings.
 
Patient satisfaction with care and information received from clinical pharmacists is well established by previous studies. However, primary care providers’ (PCP) opinions of pharmacist integration into primary care haven’t always been as positive, but this is changing.
 
SAGE Open Medicine has published a study on primary care provider satisfaction and perceived influence of pharmacy services on disease state management. The results from this survey of 144 PCPs emphasized their appreciation of clinical pharmacists in primary care settings and the importance of the services they deliver.
 
Physicians report high satisfaction with clinical pharmacy services. Eighty-two percent report 1 or 2 clinical pharmacists in their practice and 72% report consulting or referring patients to the pharmacist. MTM, disease state management, medication reconciliation, drug information resource, and transitions of care are seen as the most impactful pharmacy services in the primary care setting. PCPs perceive diabetes as the most important disease-focused resource clinical pharmacists provide.    
 
Primary care providers strongly agreed patients’ health improves as a result of clinical pharmacist involvement in care. They reported satisfaction with medication recommendations, no increase in workload, and more time available for patient care activities in their area of expertise due to pharmacists’ involvement.
 
As the population ages and more patients have health care access, the focus on primary health care is more important. According to the study, PCPs reported that clinical pharmacists’ contributions improve the quality of patient care in a unique way that could not be achieved by other professionals. Considering the physician shortage, pharmacists are valuable to primary care settings.
 
Overall, providers are very satisfied with clinical pharmacy services and indicated that they consider pharmacists part of the health care team. PCPs surveyed noted that they would recommend clinical pharmacists to other primary care practices that do not have one.
 
Reference
 
Truong H, Kroehl ME, Lewis C, et al. Clinical pharmacists in primary care: Provider satisfaction and perceived impact on quality of care provided. SAGE Open Medicine. 2017;5. doi:10.1177/2050312117713911.
 

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