Evidence is growing that health care delivered by teams is superior to services delivered by a single practitioner. Published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine — University of Minnesota, University of North Carolina, American Board of Family Medicine and the American Academy of Family Physicians researchers compared key elements from the practice of a pharmacist providing comprehensive medication management to the foundational components defined for primary care.
Based on a common health care team framework — the Four C’s of Primary Care (first contact, continuity, comprehensiveness, and coordination) — this team has, for the first time, articulated the impact of comprehensive medication management services delivered by pharmacists.
“We continue to see that pharmacists contribute positively to the health of patients and also to the team,” said Kylee Funk, an associate professor in the College of Pharmacy. “The results of our work demonstrate that comprehensive medication management delivered by a pharmacist both supports and aligns with the foundational elements of primary care. These are important findings as the healthcare community looks to best integrate pharmacists as key members of an interprofessional team.”
The U of M, ABFM and AAFP found in their academic commentary that:
- Pharmacists support first contact by increasing provider access. When the pharmacist follows up with the provider's patients, the provider has more room in their schedule for visits with other patients;
- Pharmacists improve continuity through identifying certain groups of patients who would benefit from a visit with the pharmacist. For example, patients with diabetes who are not at their blood sugar goals;
- Pharmacists support primary care providers’ ability to be comprehensive in their care because pharmacists work with the patients and providers to optimize the patient’s medication regimen;
- Pharmacists improve coordination by collaborating with specialists and others in the patient's healthcare team around optimization of a patient's medications.
Video by the American Board of Family Medicine.
“Comprehensive medication management is a service that can advance the mission of primary care while improving the care for patients,” added Funk. “As healthcare leaders consider ways to improve practice, increased incorporation of comprehensive medication management should be a key consideration.”
This research was funded by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) and the ACCP Foundation Grant Enhancing Performance in Primary Care Medical Practice through Implementation of Comprehensive Medication Management.