Pharmacist contributions as members of the multidisciplinary ICU team

Chest. 2013 Nov;144(5):1687-1695. doi: 10.1378/chest.12-1615.


Critical care pharmacy services in the ICU have expanded from traditional dispensing responsibilities to being recognized as an essential component of multidisciplinary care for critically ill patients. Augmented by technology and resource utilization, this shift in roles has allowed pharmacists to provide valuable services in the form of assisting physicians and clinicians with pharmacotherapy decision-making, reducing medication errors, and improving medication safety systems to optimize patient outcomes. Documented improvements in the management of infections, anticoagulation therapy, sedation, and analgesia for patients receiving mechanical ventilation and in emergency response help to justify the need for clinical pharmacy services for critically ill patients. Contributions to quality improvement initiatives, scholarly and research activities, and the education and training of interdisciplinary personnel are also valued services offered by clinical pharmacists. Partnering with physician and nursing champions can garner support from hospital administrators for the addition of clinical pharmacy critical care services. The addition of a pharmacist to an interprofessional critical care team should be encouraged as health-care systems focus on improving the quality and efficiency of care delivered to improve patient outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Critical Care*
  • Critical Illness*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / organization & administration*
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Pharmacists / organization & administration*
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital / organization & administration*