It has never been more important for the pharmacist and physician to collaborate effectively regarding their shared patients. Today’s healthcare model continues to move towards a highly-collaborative, team-oriented style of patient care that sees the role of pharmacist as one that contributes to a comprehensive healthcare team. We can take a closer look at the relationship between the pharmacist and physician to see why it’s important for them to collaborate in a meaningful way.
Comprehensive, team-based patient care
Over the past 10 years, pharmacist-physician collaborative practices have grown in primary care, helping implement comprehensive, team-based healthcare models. And, much evidence suggests that the multidisciplinary team approach to healthcare, one in which pharmacists take on the responsibility for tasks such as adjusting medication regimes, obtaining and reviewing medication histories, and identifying challenges and barriers to adherence, is highly effective.
For example, for patients with chronic diseases, like diabetes and hypertension, pharmacists play a key advocacy role by providing direct input to optimize pharmacotherapy and medication therapy management (MTM). Within the collaborative care model, pharmacist responsibilities also often include making sure the patient is well educated regarding the physician’s diagnosis and prescribed medications.
A 2016 National Progress Report sponsored by Surescripts points to the importance of the physician-pharmacist collaboration when it comes to health data. Today, more health data is being exchanged, making it critical that the quality and accuracy of data reporting is maintained. Real-time data sharing between members of the healthcare team is now a reality, and open collaboration maintains both the integrity of the data and allows the patient to receive the best care possible.
Improved communication, specifically between the pharmacist and physician, allows pharmacists to improve medication management and an improved system of information exchange prioritizes patient safety.
Overcoming challenges to the patient care collaborative process
A strong working relationship between pharmacists and doctors is necessary to optimize healthcare for each patient. Understanding any barriers to this collaboration can improve the delivery of healthcare services. In a busy hospital environment, good communication can be difficult to achieve. Additionally, lack of access to information, time constraints, misconceptions regarding roles and responsibilities of other team members can all make open collaboration difficult for both the pharmacist and physician.
Utilizing integrated electronic health records (EHR) and software platforms that provide patient data transparency across a health system’s network, is key to accurate and timely communication among a healthcare team. When physicians, pharmacists, and other members of a patient’s care team are all able to see patient history, diagnoses, current medication regimes, and more, they can streamline the continuity of care that is coming to be expected more and more by patient populations.