Add a pharmacist to the team to see better outcomes

Adding pharmacists to a team-based care practice model has benefited the Providence Medical Group in Oregon for more than 2 decades, as they target conditions including diabetes, asthma, and hypertension. During that time, Providence increased its number of pharmacists from 1 to 21 in more than 40 patient-centered medical homes.

Adding pharmacists to a team-based care practice model has benefited the Providence Medical Group in Oregon for more than 2 decades, as they target conditions including diabetes, asthma, and hypertension. During that time, Providence increased its number of pharmacists from 1 to 21 in more than 40 patient-centered medical homes. Depending on the size of the practice, some of the clinics share a pharmacist; however, many have a full-time pharmacist of their own. "The idea was that physicians needed help with complex medication regimes," explained Deborah Satterfield, MD, a primary care physician and area medical director at Providence Center Medical Group. "We started very small with a few number of PharmDs that would be available for answering medication questions. Then found it was useful to have [a pharmacist] within the clinic." Based on each clinic's particular needs and patient panel, the pharmacist's duties will fluctuate. According to Lori Gluck, MD, a family physician who is medical director of the group's clinic Bethany, OR, pharmacists may assist with insulin treatment and virtual consults, while other duties may include followup visits for hypertension and depression, new medication starts, and assessing polypharmacy concerns for older adults. For people with diabetes—the largest population seen by pharmacists at Providence—said Kristy Butler, PharmD, manager of clinical pharmacy specialists in the clinical pharmacy department at Providence Medical Group, the pharmacists will work closely with the patients and frequently check in on patients weekly if their condition is not well-controlled. "It is interesting because we try to get our poorly controlled patients with diabetes to the behaviorist, but they are often more receptive to seeing the pharmacist first," said Satterfield. "After some work with [the pharmacist], we can get them to the behaviorist if they are still resistant."

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