ASHP: Healthcare teams with pharmacists improve patient care

BETHESDA, Md. A new study funded by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists underscored the role healthcare-team pharmacists have in improving health care in the United States.

The study, “US Pharmacists' Effect as Team Members on Patient Care: Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses,” available online and set to be published in the October edition of Medical Care, examined the effect of pharmacist-provided direct patient care on therapeutic, safety and humanistic outcomes. The study, led by Marie Chisholm-Burns, a professor and department head at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, reviewed nearly 300 articles and found that:

  • Patients were 47% less likely to experience an adverse drug event when a pharmacist was involved in their care;
  • Pharmacist interventions also significantly improved outcomes when pharmacists were involved in disease management, particularly for patients with diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol; and
  • Nearly 90% of studies tracking pharmacists’ impact on managing hemoglobian A1c showed favorable results; 84% of the studies focused on managing blood pressure; 82% of studies looking at managing high cholesterol showed favorable results.

“We have to get this message out to the public,” Chisholm-Burns said. “It’s so important for patients to understand how pharmacists can help them manage their chronic diseases and be as healthy as possible.”

Additional findings highlighting pharmacists’ impact on economic outcomes will be published in October in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy.

“This important study clearly demonstrates the valuable role pharmacists play in patient care,” said ASHP CEO Henri Manasse, Jr. “The findings are particularly relevant as policy-makers begin to implement innovative care models included in the new healthcare-reform law, like the medical home model, where patients can benefit from the medication expertise of pharmacists.”

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