Evidence is accumulating to support the “valuable” role pharmacists can play when integrated into the general practice team, a leading doctor says
Dr Richard Kidd, chair of the AMA’s Council of General Practice, has penned a piece in Australian Medicine outlining how general practice can bring “pharmacists into the fold”.
“It has been almost three years since the AMA put forward its proposal to make non-dispensing pharmacists a key part of the future general practice healthcare team,” writes Dr Kidd, saying that “our advocacy on this issue has not wavered”.
General practice pharmacists would enhance medication management and reduce hospitalisations from adverse drug events, he says.
“An independent analysis from Deloitte Access Economics (DAE), which was released with the AMA’s proposal, showed that integrating pharmacists into general practice would deliver a benefit-cost ratio of 1.56,” writes Dr Kidd.
“If general practices were supported to employ non-dispensing pharmacists as part of their healthcare team, they would be able deliver real cost savings to the health system, of $1.56 for every dollar invested.
“An in-house pharmacist would be able to assist GPs address overprescribing and medication non-adherence by patients.
“We would see better coordination of patient care, improved prescribing, improved medication use, and fewer medication-related problems. Hospitalisation rates from ADEs would fall and our patients’ quality of life would be improved as would their health outcomes.”
Dr Kidd cites research recently published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, which found that when pharmacists work within a general practice their recommendations are more readily accepted by GPs at that practice.
He says this supports 2013 research entitled ‘An evaluation of medication review reports across different settings’, in which findings were similar.
In this research, when pharmacists conducting a medication review had access to the patients’ medical file and the relevant clinical information in them, their recommendations were more targeted and less conjectural.
“With chronic disease on the rise, and an ageing population, it is estimated that there are more than 700,000 patients with co-morbidities who would benefit from a review of their medications,” Dr Kidd writes.
“This figure represents just the top 10% of patients who could benefit from having their medications reviewed. In-house pharmacists could be a valuable resource for patients in understanding their medications and how to use them.
“With over 230,000 medication related admissions to hospitals every year at a cost of $1.2 billion per annum and patient medication non-compliances estimated at 33%, the time has well and truly come for action on this front.”
The AMA Council of General Practice is looking forward to the upcoming interim results of another trial, looking at non-dispensing pharmacists in 14 medical centres in greater Brisbane, he says.
“With increasing evidence that where pharmacists are integrated within general practice patient care is improved, the AMA continues to advocate for Government funding to make this an everyday reality for general practice and for patients,” writes Dr Kidd.
PSA national president Shane Jackson welcomed the piece on Twitter.
Long term support from @ama_media @amapresident and good summary from @richardkidd56 about benefits of pharmacists in general practice @PSA_National RT: Bringing pharmacists into the fold https://t.co/SPqSgjSuFh
— Shane Jackson (@ShaneJacks) April 10, 2018