The New Era of Pharmacists in Ambulatory Patient Care
Ambulatory care pharmacy practice is defined as the provision of integrated, accessible healthcare services by pharmacists who are accountable for addressing medication needs, developing sustained partnerships with patients, and practicing in the context of family and community. This is accomplished through direct patient care and medication management for ambulatory patients, long-term relationships, coordination of care, patient advocacy, wellness and health promotion, triage and referral, and patient education and self-management. The ambulatory care pharmacists may work in both an institutional and community-based clinic involved in direct care of a diverse patient population.
A variety of specialty clinics are available for allergy and immunology, pulmonology, endocrinology, cardiology, nephrology, neurology, behavioral health, and infectious disease. Such services for this population may exist as a primary care clinic or an independent specialty clinic, typically in a PCMH, which is instrumental in coordinating care between various providers. Once a practice site is identified, it is important to establish a strong, trusting, and mutually beneficial relationship with the various decision-makers (e.g., administrators, providers) involved with the clinic. If pharmacy services are currently in existence, the pharmacy director may be able to identify and initially contact the appropriate person. If another pharmacist is providing clinical services, this person would be a resource to help determine areas for expansion of patient care and to whom to direct the proposed business plan.
Additional individuals to consider as an initial point of contact include the clinic manager, clinic medical director, or administrative assistant to either of these persons. If the clinic setting is affiliated with a medical school, it may be necessary to contact the Department of Family Medicine head.
Article Type: Commentary
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