Pharmacist consultations in general practice clinics: The Pharmacists in Practice Study (PIPS)

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Abstract

Background:

Medication-related problems (MRPs) are a concern in primary care settings. Pharmacists based in the community or community pharmacies are able to identify, resolve and prevent MRPs; however, the lack of a formal partnership with physicians and poor access to patients' medical records are limitations. In Australia, delivery of pharmacist services within general practice clinics is rare.

Objectives:

To evaluate the effectiveness of consultations by pharmacists based within primary care medical practices.

Methods:

A prospective, before-after intervention study was conducted at two primary health care (general practice) clinics in Melbourne, Australia. Participants were clinic patients who had risk-factors for MRPs (e.g. polypharmacy). Patients received a consultation with the pharmacist in a private consulting room at the clinic or in their home. The pharmacist reviewed the patient's medication regimen and adherence, with full access to their medical record, provided patient education, and produced a report for the general practitioner. The primary outcome was the number of MRPs identified by the pharmacist, and the number that remained unresolved 6 months after the pharmacist consultation. Secondary outcomes included medication adherence, health service use, and patient satisfaction.

Results:

Eighty-two patients were recruited and 62 (75.6%) completed the study. The median number of MRPs per patient identified by the practice pharmacist was 2 (interquartile range [IQR] 1, 4). Six months after review, this fell to 0 (IQR 0, 1), P < 0.001. The proportion of patients who were adherent to their medications improved significantly, according to both the Morisky (44.1% versus 62.7%, P = 0.023) and the Tool for Adherence Behaviour Screening (TABS) (35.6% versus 57.6%, P = 0.019) scales. There was no significant effect on health service use. Patients were highly satisfied with the pharmacist consultations.

Conclusions:

Consultations undertaken by pharmacists located within primary health care clinics were effective in identifying and resolving MRPs. The consultations were well received by patients and were associated with improvements in medication adherence.

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