Is Community Pharmacy Getting Left Out of Ambulatory Care?


Ambulatory pharmacy practice will grow independent of community pharmacy practice, unless efforts are made to bring them closer together.

In the August 15, 2014, issue of the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, the American Society of Health'System Pharmacists (ASHP) published the proceedings of its Ambulatory Care Conference and Summit, which took the definition of ambulatory care pharmacy from the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) and developed a series of recommendations on how to grow the practice.

According to the BPS, ambulatory care pharmacy practice is the “provision of integrated, accessible health care services by pharmacists who are accountable for addressing medication needs, developing sustained partnerships with patients, and practicing in the context of family and community.” This practice is provided through “direct patient care and medication management for ambulatory patients, long-term relationships, coordination of care, patient advocacy, wellness and health promotion, triage and referral, and patient education and self-management,” the BPS wrote.

I have been a supporter of pharmacists playing a larger role in the ambulatory arena, but since most pharmacists are working in community pharmacies, shouldn’t efforts be made to bring them into the mix?

I believe so, but the suggestion is absent from the 25 recommendations developed at the summit, possibly because the participants displayed a negative bias toward the role and contributions of community pharmacists in ambulatory care.

If I were a practicing community pharmacist, I would look at these recommendations and figure out how I might implement them in my practice. This is because I believe that ambulatory pharmacy practice will grow independent of community pharmacy practice, unless efforts are made to bring them closer together.

I would also call on my organizations and owners to get involved in this development, so that community pharmacy does not get left out of ambulatory care. What do you think?

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