Background: Collaborative practices allow physicians and pharmacists to comanage pharmacotherapy to maximize the benefits of medication regimens. The Trial to Evaluate an Ambulatory primary care Management program for patients with dyslipidemia (TEAM) study compared the efficacy of a physician-pharmacist collaborative primary care (PPCC) intervention, where pharmacists requested laboratory tests and adjusted medication dosage, to the usual care (UC) for patients under treatment with lipid-lowering medication.
Objective: In a qualitative study nested within the TEAM study, the perceptions of physicians, pharmacists, and patients regarding the PPCC model, interprofessional collaboration, and the clinicians' willingness to implement the model in their practice were explored.
Methods: In the area of Montreal (Quebec, Canada), TEAM study participants assigned to the PPCC group were invited to participate. Individual semistructured interviews with physicians (n=7) and 2 six-member focus groups with pharmacists (n=12) and patients (n=12) were analyzed using a phenomenological approach.
Results: The vast majority of participants reported PPCC was more structured and systematic than the UC they had received previously, wherein physicians prescribe and adjust pharmacotherapy and pharmacists provide the counseling and dispense medications. Many patients felt they received better follow-up and reported being reassured and well informed, making them more inclined to care for themselves better. These feelings were attributed largely to the pharmacists' accessibility and ability to communicate with them easily. Given the physician shortage, physicians perceived interprofessional collaboration as almost inevitable. They considered PPCC to be safe and effective. However, obstacles were also identified. Physicians were concerned that it might alter their special relationship with patients and threaten their overall medical follow-up. Pharmacists felt enthusiastic about their new role, but found PPCC time consuming and thought it might not be applicable to all the patients.
Conclusions: PPCC model was highly appreciated by patients, and clinicians saw it as beneficial to patients. However, several obstacles still have to be overcome before the model can be implemented in the current health care context.
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