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Teamwork between pharmacists and doctors benefits patients, and collaborative practice agreements will help make that teamwork possible.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with the help of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation, has developed a tool kit for instituting collaborative practice agreements between healthcare providers and pharmacists, which is intended to improve healthcare quality.
The target audience for this resource material is pharmacists, other healthcare providers, payers, and decision-makers of collaborative practice agreements. Under state law, a pharmacist collaborative practice agreement is “a formal agreement in which a licensed provider makes a diagnosis, supervises patient care, and refers patients to a pharmacist under a protocol that allows the pharmacist to perform specific patient care functions,” according to CDC.
“Research shows us that a patient’s control of their blood pressure improves when their care is provided by a team of health professionals,” said David Callahan, MD, with CDC. “This tool kit will play an invaluable role in allowing physicians and pharmacists to work together to give patients optimal care and save lives by controlling blood pressure.”
The content for the tool kit was developed with input from APhA Foundation following a consortium on collaborative practice agreements and pharmacists’ patient care services held in January 2012. Case studies from Osterhous Pharmacy in eastern Iowa, Goodrich Pharmacy in Minnesota, and El Rio Community Health Center in Arizona were good examples of pharmacist patient care services performed under collaborative practice agreements.
The document also outlined action steps for pharmacists to help build and strengthen collaborative agreements:
· Use simple terms to describe patient care services from pharmacists
· Educate other healthcare providers about the value of including pharmacists on healthcare teams
· Encourage health professional organizations to work together when proposing scope of practice law changes
· Participate in interprofessional committees to discuss how scope of practice laws can expand pharmacists’ roles in team-based care
· Talk to local healthcare providers about collaborative practice agreements
· Talk to payers about business models to support pharmacists’ patient care services
· Share health information with providers through the electronic health record
· Discuss with relevant stakeholders the need to align reimbursement for all healthcare team members who provide patient care in order to reign in costs and improve healthcare outcomes.