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What is the role of a pharmacist?

To become a clinical pharmacist, one must undergo professional development programmes and postgraduate training.
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It has been clear that clinical pharmacy services is beneficial for patient health outcome. It has been included into the Joint FIP WHO guidelines on good pharmacy practice. In the GPP guideline, it clearly states that “Pharmacists are specifically educated and trained health professionals who are charged by their national or other appropriate authorities with the management of the distribution of medicines to consumers and to engage in appropriate efforts to assure their safe and efficacious use.” There is also increasing recognition that providing consumers with medicines alone is not sufficient to achieve the treatment goals.
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To address these medication-related needs, pharmacists are accepting greater responsibility for the outcomes of medicines and are evolving their practices to provide patients with enhanced medicines-use services.“ In the GPP guideline, It is recommended that national pharmacy professional associations consider the following four roles, functions and activities for pharmacists, which are one, prepare, obtain, store, secure, distribute, administer, dispense and dispose of medical products. And number two, Provide effective medication therapy management And three, Maintain and improve professional performance And four, Contribute to improve effectiveness of the health-care system and public health
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Specifically,in role 2: provide effective medication therapy management. It is essentially the concept of providing clinical pharmacy services. It states that 4 functions should be served, and minimum national standards should be established for these activities. Which Includes
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Function A: Assess patient health status and needs
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and Function B: Manage patient medication therapy
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Function C: Monitor patient progress and outcomes
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and Function D: Provide information about medicines and health-related issues. The GPP guideline includes standards that often exceed those laid down by national legislation. Furthermore, legislation seldom gives precise instructions about how the services should be produced to meet the requirements. And, Therefore, national pharmacy professional associations have a role in setting standards required for GPP, which includes a quality management framework and a strategic plan for developing services. It is also recognized that in developing national standards for GPP, attention must be paid to both the needs of the users of health-care services and the capacity of national health-care systems to support these services. ALL the benefits of CPS are not possible without the key components, which is competent clinical pharmacists, and evidence-based process.
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A clinical pharmacist is someone who is a highly educated individual, with specialized knowledge and experience, who contributes to the outcome of patients by using the knowledge to enhance drug therapy. ACCP have published guidelines on Clinical pharmacist competencies. Detailing the core ability and corresponding training required a pharmacist should have in order to provide GOOD clinical services. ACCP states their expectation that clinical pharmacists should be competent in
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six essential domains: which are direct patient care, pharmacotherapy knowledge, systems-based care and population health, communication, professionalism, and continuing professional development. Although these domains align with the competencies of physician providers, they are specifically designed to better reflect the clinical pharmacy expertise required to provide comprehensive medication management in patient-centered, team-based settings. Clinical pharmacists must be prepared to complete the education and training needed to achieve these competencies and must commit to ongoing efforts to maintain competence through ongoing professional development. Also, clinical pharmacists must be dedicated to life-long learning to keep up with the ever-changing and advances of medicine, and to ensure their value to the inter-professional health care team.
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Collaboration among stakeholders will be needed to ensure that these competencies guide clinical pharmacists’ professional development and evaluation by educational institutions, postgraduate training programs, professional societies, and employers. In some countries, there have been professional developing programs and post-graduate training, such as residencies and fellowships, providing opportunities to advance skills and knowledge. In addition to the education and training credentials for pharmacist, there has been increasing numbers of clinical pharmacists seek to demonstrate their knowledge through board certification, and to become a clinical pharmacist of a specialty.
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For example, in the United States, The Board of Pharmacy Specialties or the BPS was established in 1976 as an autonomous division of the American Pharmacists Association The Board of Pharmacy Specialties is aimed to improve patient care and increase awareness of the need for qualified Pharmacists as integral members of multidisciplinary healthcare teams, through recognition and promotion of specialized training, knowledge, and skills in pharmacy. The currently recognized specialties include ambulatory care, critical care, cardiology, oncology, geriatric, pediatric, psychiatric, infectious disease, nuclear pharmacy, nutrition support, and pharmacotherapy. And specialty board certification is open to pharmacists throughout the world. This shows that nowadays many clinical pharmacists are continuously enhancing their professional capability and clinical knowledge.
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And may focus on and aiming to excel at specific specialty, in order to better provide clinical services and inter-professional collaboration. The second essential element for good clinical pharmacy service is the evidence-based process. Moving from being medication dispensers to outcome-oriented and patient-focused care providers; pharmacists will carry more responsibility and commitment to improve their knowledge and practice. The process of Determining the best use of medications for individuals and populations must be updated and evidence-based. Pharmacists should always apply Quality evidences such as drug information resources, published clinical studies or guidelines, and expert consensus advice.

Here, we will explain the pharmacist’s role as described by the Good Pharmacy Practice (GPP), before moving on to the two essentials of good clinical pharmacy services (CPS).

Key concepts

The GPP guideline recommends pharmacists take up four roles:

  • Role 1: Prepare, obtain, store, secure, distribute, administer, dispense, and dispose of medical products.
  • Role 2: Provide effective medication therapy management (MTM).
  • Role 3: Maintain and improve professional performance.
  • Role 4: Contribute to improving the effectiveness of the healthcare system and public health.

Role 2 is essentially the concept of providing clinical pharmacy services. There are four functions listed under role 2.

  • Assess patient health status and needs.
  • Manage patient medication therapy.
  • Monitor patient progress and outcomes
  • Provide information about medicines and health-related issues.

The government implemented guidelines rarely encompass all these criteria, and seldom give precise instructions. Thus, it is the responsibility of professional associations to set standards required for GPP.

Successful CPS comes down to 2 key components

These are competent clinical pharmacists, and evidence-based processes.

Clinical pharmacists are specialised in pharmacological knowledge and experience. They are expected to be competent indirect patient care, pharmacotherapy knowledge, systems-based care and population health, communication, professionalism, and continuing professional development, to provide comprehensive medication management in patient-centered, team-based settings.

To become a clinical pharmacist, one must undergo professional development programmes and postgraduate training, such as residencies and fellowships. There are also clinical pharmacists trained in various specialties. Specialties currently recognised by The Board of Pharmacy Specialties (US) include ambulatory care, critical care, cardiology, oncology, geriatric, pediatric, psychiatric, infectious disease, nuclear pharmacy, nutrition support, and pharmacotherapy.

Pharmacists should always apply quality evidence such as drug information resources, published clinical studies or guidelines, and expert consensus advice, to carry out accurate, efficient improvements.

Share and learn:

 

  • Besides those recognised by The Board of Pharmacy Specialties, do you know of other specialisations for clinical pharmacists?
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Good Pharmacy Practice: Introduction to Clinical Pharmacy Services

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