Collaboration in chronic care: unpacking the relationship of pharmacists and general medical practitioners in primary care

Int J Pharm Pract. 2011 Feb;19(1):21-9. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7174.2010.00070.x.


Objectives: The objective of this research was to gain deeper understanding of the expectations, experiences and perceptions of Australian general medication practitioners (GPs) and pharmacists around collaboration in chronic illness (asthma) management in the primary care setting.

Methods: A qualitative research methodology utilising a semi-structured interview guide, based on theory and an empirical approach, was used to fulfill the objectives of this study. Face-to-face interviews with pharmacists (n = 18) and GPs (n = 7) were recorded, transcribed and coded for concepts and themes. Relationships between concepts and themes were examined and used to describe the nature of collaborative relationships in the primary care setting.

Key findings: A relationship between GPs and pharmacists currently exists although there is minimal collaboration and there are several areas of practice and patient care in which the two professional groups are mismatched. At the same time, this research uncovered key aspects of the GP-pharmacist relationship, which could be used to develop more collaborative relationships in the future. The findings from this study were evaluated in light of the Collaborative Working Relationships model and published literature.

Conclusions: A model for the development of GP-pharmacist relationship has been postulated which articulates the dynamic nature of professional relationship in primary care and highlights a pathway to more collaborative practice. Future research should focus on further developing this model.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • General Practitioners*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Pharmacists*
  • Primary Health Care*