Physician experiences with clinical pharmacists in primary care teams

J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). Nov-Dec 2017;57(6):686-691. doi: 10.1016/j.japh.2017.06.018. Epub 2017 Aug 12.


Background: Improving medication management is an important component of comprehensive care coordination for health systems. The Managing Your Medication for Education and Daily Support (MyMeds) medication management program at the University of California Los Angeles addresses medication management issues by embedding trained clinical pharmacists in primary care practice teams.

Objectives: The aim of this work was to examine and explore physician opinions about the clinical pharmacist program and identify common themes among physician experiences as well as barriers to integration of clinical pharmacists into primary care practice teams.

Methods: We conducted a mixed quantitative-qualitative methods study consisting of a cross-sectional physician survey (n = 69) as well as semistructured one-on-one physician interviews (n = 13). Descriptive statistics were used to summarize survey responses, and standard qualitative content-analysis methods were used to identify major themes from the interviews.

Results: The survey response rate was 61%; 13 interviews were conducted. Ninety percent of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that having the pharmacist in the office makes management of the patient's medication more efficient, 93% agreed or strongly agreed that pharmacist recommendations are clinically helpful, 71% agreed or strongly agreed that having access to a pharmacist has increased their knowledge about medications they prescribe, and 75% agreed or strongly agreed that having a pharmacist as part of the primary care team has made their job easier. Qualitative interviews corroborated survey findings, and physicians highlighted the value of the clinical pharmacist's communication, team care and expanded roles, and medication management.

Conclusion: Primary care physicians valued the integrated pharmacy program highly, particularly its features of strong communication, expanded roles, and medication management. Pharmacists were viewed as integral members of the health care team.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Los Angeles
  • Male
  • Medication Therapy Management*
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Pharmacists / psychology*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Specialization