GP pharmacists have ‘superpowers’

Pharmacists providing integrated care in GP clinics have “superpowers” according to an international medical expert

Dr Kirsten Meisinger, from Boston’s Cambridge Health Alliance, said pharmacists provide “superpowers” in multidisciplinary teams with a GP and practice nurse in offering patient-centred care.

Dr Meisinger – a pioneer of the American patient-centred primary care model who spoke in Sydney earlier this week – said general practices that have adopted the primary healthcare model have reported improved health outcomes and better patient engagement.

In highlighting Dr Meisinger’s words, and ahead of next week’s Federal Budget, PSA reiterated calls for the Federal Government to support a large-scale trial integrating pharmacists in general practice, to determine the best approach for an evidence-based model in Australia.

PSA National Vice President Dr Chris Freeman said: “Dr Meisinger’s comments are no surprise to us – we have known for some time about the benefits that a practice pharmacist brings to patient care.

“In Australia, the GP-pharmacist concept has been endorsed by many leading medical organisations, practitioners and experts – highlighting the value pharmacists add to the primary healthcare team and the savings this generates for the system as a whole.

“But the growth of this model has been limited to a small number of practices due to the absence of funding – and this has led to Australia falling behind other countries in terms of this collaborative healthcare approach.”

In its 2017-18 Budget submission, PSA also outlined other key health reforms including calls for pharmacists to become digital health champions to optimise medication management and encourage uptake of e-health records.

“A new report about My Health Records, released yesterday, highlighted the benefits for pharmacists embracing the digital health potential within the patient-centric care model.  Consumers do want their pharmacists involved,” Dr Freeman said.

Dr Freeman said there were many positive outcomes for Australia by optimising the role of pharmacists, especially within collaborative healthcare frameworks.

“Pharmacists and the community pharmacy sector are critical to the Government’s efforts to achieve sustainable, efficient and quality healthcare for all Australians.”

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1 Comment

  1. Timothy Perry

    Dr Meisinger is a great advocate for team- based approach to healthcare. She has several allied health professionals on her team and they all work together to deliver the best care for their patients.
    Pharmacists sort out medication related issues, highlight actual or potential problems, ensure the patient is on the right track with their medication, and that the medication is right for the patient. All this is done, in the team model used by Dr Meisinger, and in the practices employing this model in western Sydney now, before the GP even sees the patient, allowing the doctor to focus just on the patient, knowing the medication side of that patient’s care has been thoroughly checked. As a full-time practice pharmacist for more than a year, the major “super power” I have is time. The time both to sit with the patient, uninterrupted, go through their medication related concerns and to access the GP to discuss and address medication related issues.
    Kirsten’s “super-power” comments also reflect her earlier lack of understanding of the depth of knowledge that pharmacists have about medication. Pharmacists are highly skilled health professionals with detailed knowledge of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, physiology and patient care that is often unrecognised and is definitely under utilised in Australia

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