A pilot study embedding pharmacists into general practice revealed 100% acceptance of pharmacist recommendations on patient education and lifestyle
The pilot study was introduced by WentWest, the Western Sydney Primary Health Network, in 2016, in partnership with a research team from the Graduate School of Health, University of Technology Sydney.
WentWest collaborated with Blacktown, Hills District and Mount Druitt General Practice Associations to integrate non-dispensing pharmacists into general practice in a bid to improve the prescription of medicines, reduce adverse drug events and provide pharmaceutical expertise to patient care.
It was hoped that that this would contribute to a more coordinated and effective model of care in keeping with Patient Centred Medical Homes principles, of which team-based care is a key element.
The study showed early promise, with GPs saying the professional relationship between them and the pharmacists grew over time. The project was then extended until the end of 2016, with further evaluation planned.
During the pilot, six pharmacists conducted 493 consultations across 16 general practice sites within a six-month period.
Patients were selected for various reasons such as polypharmacy (>30%), diabetes management (20%) and asthma and COPD management (>8%).
The patient cohort represented was taking an average of 9.2 ± 4.3 medications and had an average of 5.5 ± 2.7 medical conditions. 90% of patients seen by pharmacists had at least one drug-related problem, and 71% of the 984 pharmacist recommendations were actioned by the GPs.
The pilot’s results show that the integration of a pharmacist was welcomed as a positive addition to the general practice team.
This led to greater inter-professional collaboration and improved patient care.
There was 100% acceptance of pharmacist recommendations relating to patient education and lifestyle.
“Overall the results indicated that there is an established patient need for optimising pharmacotherapy and that pharmacists are effective in making appropriate recommendations to resolve drug-related problems once they have been detected,” says Professor Shalom Benrimoj, Head of the Graduate School of Health UTS.
WentWest CEO Walter Kmet says “The pharmacist in general practice project demonstrates the benefits of a collaborative, team-based approach to care and provides evidence to support the ongoing implementation of intervention within general practice.
“Pharmacists have a valuable role to play in reducing and resolving drug-related problems, improving chronic disease state management and supporting the general practice team.”