Seeing dozens of patients in just a few hours, navigating calls with specialists, staff meetings, and an endless amount of paperwork to complete — that’s what nearly every day can look like for the vast majority of healthcare providers.
Such an overwhelming schedule of tasks can lead to difficulty managing insufficient capacities, having to manage several patients at the same time, which can ultimately lead to physician burnout. This is evident in the dramatic drops in numbers of general practitioners and the general staffing shortages we’re seeing throughout the U.S.
One solution to this scenario of overwork and overwhelm is to create an environment of physician-pharmacist collaboration, which can allow doctors to spend more time using their expertise on patient care, rather than red tape and paperwork.
Improvements made in medication adherence can significantly improve patient care. During discharge planning, pharmacists can assist doctors by evaluating a patient’s access to after-treatment options. These include patient education of out-of-pocket costs and providing education before the patient is ever discharged from the hospital. The overall outcome in relation to the management and prevention of chronic diseases along with medication adherence is greatly improved.
In regard to the diagnosis of disorders related to antimicrobials, opioid addiction, hypertension, and diabetes, improved medication management workflows related to these are improved through collaboration. Prior to using a state’s Prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), pharmacists can greatly assist by having access to patient records with opioid management issues. They can also provide education through programs like diabetes education and counseling.
Diabetes patients can be better managed by pharmacists along with doctors through collaboration. They can assist with controlling the patient’s glycemic control through review of their medical history, blood glucose monitoring history, education and medication adherence. Pharmacists can also help with adjusting diabetes medications when necessary.
Pharmacists are medication experts that can add to the ongoing development and implementation of medication policies and patient care guidelines. They can play an integral part in reducing medication errors and promoting better patient outcomes in regard to any adverse drug reactions. This improves the overall satisfaction of treatment between doctors and patients. Pharmacists can also help guide an institution’s release and prescription of medication.
When they participate and are members of hospital boards, they can participate in comparative studies and cost analysis. This can help make any substitute therapies a more patient-friendly part of any hospital’s policies.
One study found that when a pharmacist provided care and educated patients with diabetes, HbA1c levels lowered by an average of 0.62%, LDL cholesterol and mean systolic BP levels were significantly reduced, and the average total health care costs dropped by $1,079 per patient. Another study had close to 300 patients take part in an intervention in pharmacist-provided medication initiation and management.
Another 118 were assigned a primary care physician, referred to a specialist and offered low-cost prescriptions. Surprisingly, the study found it took 36 days on average for the pharmacist-physician collaborative group to reach their BP goal. The time for the patients in the usual care model to reach the same goal was, in contrast, 259 days.
Here at Medly, we believe in facilitating the provider and patient relationship. By gathering accurate medical and medication histories, consulting with physicians to create disease management plans, educating our patients about their health, disease, and medications, and empowering patients to take responsibility for their own health through knowledge, we’ve built relationships with physicians around the country that have become the foundation of our pharmacy model.
References: Working side by side: Physicians - Pharmacists can improve patient care Pharmacist and Physician’s views on collaborative practice Pharmacist-Physician collaboration: Improving patient care through an interdisciplinary approach