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Physician Buy-in Necessary for Pharmacist Acceptance in Medical Clinics

September 09, 2020

Physicians who had a long-standing relationship with pharmacists providing on-site medication management services at their medical clinic said a practice’s physicians could be enablers—or barriers—to a co-located pharmacist model, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association.

“Pharmacists from the University of British Columbia Pharmacists Clinic provide comprehensive medication management services once to twice a month through the co-location model at multiple general practice clinics beginning from 2014 and consistently since 2016,” researchers explained. “For some of the clinics, this was the first experience with a co-located allied health professional.”

To examine the perspective of physicians now experienced with the model, researchers conducted one-on-one semi-structured interviews with eight physicians from four general practice clinics. 

While physician colleagues less committed to team-based care emerged as a barrier to integrating a co-located pharmacist into a medical clinic, physician champions were identified as an enabler of the set-up, according to the study. Shifting physicians’ perspectives was a common theme in interviews. 

Other barriers identified by physicians were identifying patients for referral, lack of electronic medical record interoperability, pharmacist availability, and financial implications despite external funding of pharmacists.

On the flipside, factors physicians considered enablers of a co-located pharmacist model included use of an electronic medical record to proactively identify patient referrals, a dedicated pharmacist workspace, and intentional scheduling of in-person, physician-pharmacist case conferences. 

“The themes identified can be used to inform physicians and pharmacists on the integration process for team-based primary care,” researchers wrote. 

Jolynn Tumolo


Medgyesi N, Reardon J, Leung L, Min J, Yuen J. Family physician perceptions of barriers and enablers to integrating a co-located clinical pharmacist in a medical clinic: A qualitative study [published online ahead of print, 2020 Sep 5]. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2020;S1544-3191(20)30416-7. doi:10.1016/j.japh.2020.08.023

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