a stock photo of an interprofessional team
Interprofessional Education

Publication Highlights the Role of Pharmacists on Interprofessional Care Teams of Patients with Chronic Disease

a stock photo of an interprofessional team

Pharmacists are key healthcare providers for patients with chronic disease, but their place on interprofessional care teams has not always been understood. A July 2021 publication explores their role.

An article in the Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, published by Dove Medical Press on July 5, 2021, examines the beneficial yet underappreciated role of pharmacists on interprofessional care teams. The authors span the departments of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacy, Management and Business, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and the Center for Excellence in Higher Education for Pharmaceutical Care Innovation at the Universitas Padjadjaran in Jatinangor, Indonesia. They reviewed over 400 articles on databases such as PubMed, Google Scholar, and more before narrowing their inclusion data to a final count of 27 articles. The authors state that successful interprofessional care teams can be identified by five factors: partnership, coordination, cooperation, decision-making, and therapeutic outcomes. They found that the pharmacist’s presence on interprofessional care teams improves patient outcomes and access to primary care, showing that pharmacists are important members of interprofessional care teams.

The findings of this publication, which is titled, “The Role of Pharmacists in the Interprofessional Care Team for Patients with Chronic Diseases," align with MCPHS’s value of interprofessional collaboration in healthcare. When communicated and combined, the skills and perspectives of the pharmacist, nurse, physical therapist, and other healthcare professionals offer a well-rounded, comprehensive treatment plan for patients in various care settings. As the article suggests, interprofessional care teams are especially beneficial to patients with chronic diseases, who need long-term care. Pharmacists prove key members of those teams, because they serve as consultants on drug options, monitor the efficacy of prescriptions, prevent drug administration errors, and provide solutions to issues such as drug interactions with other therapies. Additionally, this study shows that pharmacists help reduce medical costs for patients with chronic disease, as they can change or cancel prescriptions as needed, especially after long durations. Some types of chronic disease mentioned in the article as being improved by the management of pharmacists include hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia.

The biggest takeaway of this publication is twofold: that pharmacists belong on interprofessional care teams, and that interprofessional collaboration is indisputably beneficial for patient outcomes and costs. The direct cooperation of multidisciplinary healthcare professionals improves efficiency in care, which saves time and money and streamlines the focus of treatment planning discussions back to the central goal of mutually deciding what is best for the patient.