Washington State Pharmacy Association
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Facts About Pharmacists, Technicians and Pharmacies

In the last quarter century, pharmacy has expanded its role within the health care delivery system from a profession focusing on preparation and dispensing of medications to patients to one in which pharmacists provide a wide range of patient-oriented services to maximize the medicine's effectiveness.

Pharmacy is practiced in a wide range of settings: community pharmacies, hospitals, long term care facilities, the pharmaceutical industry, mail service, managed care, and government (Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Indian Health Service, Public Health Service). A survey identified 112,000 pharmacists in community pharmacy (66,000 in chains; 46,000 in independents), 40,000 in hospitals, and 21,000 in consulting, government, academic, industry and other settings.

Historically, educational requirements for pharmacists included the choice of two entry-level degrees: a five-year Bachelor of Science in pharmacy (BS Pharmacy) or a six-year Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD). However, as of the year 2000, most schools of pharmacy began offering only the PharmD degree. This extensive training makes the pharmacist the most knowledgeable health care professional when it comes to medicines and their use.

Medicines today have great power to heal and to improve the quality of life for millions of Americans. But medicines also may do serious harm if not taken correctly. This is where the role of the pharmacist is most important. You should choose your pharmacist as carefully as you choose a physician. It is best to use only one pharmacy so all medication records are at one location. This way there will be less risk of duplicating medicine or having one prescription interact harmfully with another.

Pharmacists who know their patients and have their medication profiles on file will be aware of possible harmful drug interactions or allergies to certain drugs. The pharmacist also will be able to discuss possible side effects; what foods, drinks, or activities that should be avoided while on a medication; what to do if you miss a dose; and a wide range of other helpful information.

The pharmacist is a key health care professional in helping people achieve the best results from their medications. Americans should choose a pharmacist they trust and build a partnership for good health.

Reprinted with permission from the American Pharmacists Association

Publications and Reports Explaining the Scope of the Profession of Pharmacy

Council on Credentialing in Pharmacy; Scope of Contemporary Pharmacy Practice: Roles, Responsibilities, and Functions of Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians 2009
 This paper provides an introduction to the education and training pharmacist and pharmacy technicians receive as well as mandatory and voluntary credentials available to pharmacists. Also provided, is a spectrum of profession roles, responsibilities and services in regards to the scope of pharmacy practice and patient care.

Improving Patient and Health System Outcomes through Advanced Pharmacy Practice, A Report to the U.S. Surgeon General 2011 From the Office of the Chief Pharmacist for the U.S. Public Health Service
An evidence-based report demonstrating improved patient and health system outcomes through pharmacist delivered patient care services. This report summarizes a substantial amount of published literature from peer-reviewed journals validating the need for pharmacists to be recognized as healthcare providers and be compensated. Letter of Support from the Surgeon General Letters of Support from Physicians

HRSA Special Report to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Advancing Clincal Pharmacy Services in Programs funded by HRSA and It's Safety Net Partners. 2012 Report

Reeder TA, Mutnick A. Pharmacist- versus physician-obtained medication histories. Am J Health Syst Pharm 2008;65(9):8 57-60.
A study of 55 patients admitted to the University of Virginia Medical Center comparing physician obtained to pharmacist obtained medication histories. This study highlights that pharmacists have the time and expertise for the medication reconciliation process. When pharmacists take an active role, a more complete and accurate medication history, including allergies, is obtained compared to that of a physician. This leads to better patient safety and outcomes.

Beney J, Bero LA, Bond C. Expanding the roles of outpatient pharmacists: effects on health services utilization, costs, and patient outcomes. CochraneDatabase Syst Rev 2000(3):CD000336
A review article discussing 43 studies that evaluated non-traditional outpatient pharmacist roles. The roles discussed include pharmacist interventions targeting patients and other health care professionals, i.e. medication therapy management, disease control monitoring, patient and health professional education. This review indicates pharmacist interventions can lead to improved patient outcomes for multiple disease states and education outreach visits to health professionals may be beneficial as well.

Kaboli  PJ, Hoth AB, et al. Clinical pharmacists and inpatient  medical care: a systematic review. Arch Intern Med 2006;16 6(9):955? 64.
A review article that evaluates several published studies on the effects of clinical pharmacist interventions in various inpatient settings. Pharmacist interventions include: pharmacist participation on rounds, medication reconciliation, discharge counseling, anticoagulation, drug therapy monitoring and infectious disease services.

Hanlon JT,  W einberg er  M,  Samsa GP,  et al. A randomized, controlled trial of a clinical pharmacist  interven tion to improve inappropriate prescribing in elderly outpatients with polypharmacy. Am J Med 1996  Apr;100(4):4 28?37.
A randomized controlled trial demonstrating clinical pharmacists providing pharmaceutical care can contribute to improving and sustaining appropriate prescribing for elderly patients on five or more medications. Pharmaceutical care provided to the intervention group by pharmacists included comprehensive medical record reviews, monitoring and collaboration with other health care professionals.

Farris  KB, Kumbera P, et al.  Outcomes based  pharmacist  reimbursement: reimbursing  pharmacists for cognitive services part 1. J Manag Care Pharm 2002;8(5):383? 93.  
A study discussing an outcomes-based method of community pharmacist reimbursement for cognitive services. This article introduces reimbursement methods, pharmacist’s roles and possible outcomes. It indicates that Pharmacy Benefits Managers and community pharmacists can work together to improve medication therapy and reduce health care costs.

Sachdev, Gloria P. Billing for pharmacists’ services provided to ambulatory care patients. Am J Health Syst Pharm January 15, 2012 69:105; doi:10.2146/ajhp110671
An overview of level one billing codes, and some of the ambulatory pharmacist's challenges in billing for patient care.




Washington State Pharmacy Association
411 Williams Ave South
Renton, WA 98057
(425) 228-7171
Fax: (425) 277-3897
Email: wspa@wsparx.org

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