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Pharmacist-physician collaborative practice in primary care

Clinical pharmacists at Ascension Medical Group Via Christi are working in collaboration with primary care physicians to optimize medication regimens, improve clinical outcomes, and improve patient knowledge of chronic conditions such as diabetes.

Ambulatory care clinical pharmacists work under a Collaborative Practice Agreement (CPA) with primary care physicians to provide a variety of clinical services to patients.  Services include comprehensive medication management (CMM), chronic disease management including diabetes, dyslipidemia and hypertension, anticoagulation management, and diabetes education.

The ambulatory care pharmacists are helping patients achieve goals of therapy, improve medication adherence, improve access to essential medications, and optimize medication therapy which all contribute to improved clinical quality outcomes as well as increased patient and provider satisfaction.

In a recent encounter with one of their patients with diabetes, the clinical pharmacist identified the main cause of a patient’s very poorly controlled diabetes (A1c 12.2%) as lack of access to insulin due to the high cost. The patient (57 years old) had been using her father’s insulin which was resulting in an insufficient supply for him as well as not providing adequate control for her. The clinical pharmacist was able to help the patient obtain access to insulin through a patient assistance program and her blood sugars are already showing significant improvement. In less than a month, her blood sugars decreased from 400-500s prior to meeting with the pharmacist to the 200s following the pharmacist’s assistance through two clinic visits. She will continue to work with the pharmacist over the coming months to achieve control of her diabetes and reduce her risk of complications. At one of her recent visits she stated “I feel so much better!  I never thought this was possible.”   

Ambulatory care clinical pharmacists at Ascension Medical Group Via Christi continue to work with patients to collaboratively manage their medications alongside primary care physicians.  The newly established Ascension Via Christi PGY2 Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Residency Program will continue to train highly qualified clinical pharmacists and provide more data on the positive impact of clinical pharmacists in the outpatient clinic setting. 

For more information, contact Lyndsey Buzzard, PharmD, BCACP (lyndsey.buzzard@ascension.org)