Pharmacist-Provided Care Improves Patient Outcomes, Reports Study in Medical Care journal

Newswise — Including pharmacists on patient-care teams improves key health outcomes—including lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and better control of diabetes, reports a review in a recent issue of Medical Care. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading provider of information and business intelligence for students, professionals, and institutions in medicine, nursing, allied health, and pharmacy.

"Pharmacist-provided direct patient care has favorable effects across various patient outcomes, health care settings, and disease states," according to the new study, led by Marie Chisholm-Burns, Pharm.D., M.P.H., of The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, Tucson. Direct Care by Pharmacists Has Wide Range of Benefits for PatientsThe researchers assembled and analyzed previous research evaluating the benefits of including pharmacists on patient care teams. A total of 298 studies were identified—all involved pharmacists working directly with patients to provide services "not simply associated with dispensing of drugs." In all studies, pharmacists were members of health care teams, collaborating with other health care professionals.

The results of treatment outcome studies were "largely favorable," showing clinically meaningful improvements when pharmacists were involved in patient care. Pooled data analysis showed nearly a two percent improvement in hemoglobin A1c—a key indicator of diabetes control. Pharmacist-provided care also led to more than a 6 mg/dL reduction in low-density lipoprotein ("bad") cholesterol in patients with high cholesterol, and an average 8/3 mm Hg reduction in blood pressure in patients with hypertension.

Rates of adverse drug reactions were reduced by nearly half when pharmacists were on the health care team, and medication errors decreased as well. Patients receiving pharmacist care followed their prescribed medication more closely and had better knowledge of their treatment. Overall quality of life scores were also improved.

Most of the studies were performed in outpatient settings such as medical clinics. However, studies in hospitalized patients also showed benefits of pharmacist care, including a reduced risk of hospital readmission.

A team-based approach to health care—with doctors, nurses, and other health professionals working together—helps to better meet patients' needs while improving health care quality. Pharmacists who perform direct patient care, also known as clinical pharmacists, are specially trained to monitor drug treatment with the aim of meeting treatment goals while reducing complications and side effects. "Thus, as members of the health care team, pharmacists may provide beneficial contributions directly related to safe, effective, and optimal medication use," the researchers write.

The new review highlights a wide range of research-proven benefits when pharmacists are included as part of the patient care team. When pharmacists are involved in treatment, patients follow their prescribed treatment more closely, know more about their care, and are more likely to achieve critical treatment goals.

"Incorporating pharmacists as health care team members in direct patient care is a viable solution to improve U.S. health care," Dr Chisholm-Burns and colleagues conclude. They hope their study will promote understanding, recognition, and use of pharmacists' professional services, "thus facilitating the increased utilization of pharmacists as members of the health care team and as direct patient care providers."

About Medical CareRated as one of the top ten journals in healthcare administration, Medical Care is devoted to all aspects of the administration and delivery of healthcare. This scholarly journal publishes original, peer-reviewed papers documenting the most current developments in the rapidly changing field of healthcare. Medical Care provides timely reports on the findings of original investigations into issues related to the research, planning, organization, financing, provision, and evaluation of health services. In addition, numerous special supplementary issues that focus on specialized topics are produced with each volume. Medical Care is the official journal of the Medical Care Section of the American Public Health Association. Visit the journal website at

About Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW) is a leading international publisher for healthcare professionals and students with nearly 300 periodicals and 1,500 books in more than 100 disciplines publishing under the LWW brand, as well as content-based sites and online corporate and customer services.

LWW is part of Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading provider of information and business intelligence for students, professionals and institutions in medicine, nursing, allied health and pharmacy. Major brands include traditional publishers of medical and drug reference tools and textbooks, such as Lippincott Williams & Wilkins and Facts & Comparisons®; and electronic information providers, such as Ovid®, UpToDate®, Medi-Span® and ProVation® Medical.

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