As today’s healthcare moves toward highly collaborative and team-oriented patient care, pharmacists must collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide patients with comprehensive care from multiple angles. Through effective collaboration with other healthcare professionals, pharmacists can manage side effects, improve adherence, assist in dosage adjustment, and offer advice regarding drug interactions.
Through this process, patients can gain a complete picture of their health. At the same time, other healthcare professionals, such as physicians, nurses, dentists, physical therapists, and dieticians, can administer the right treatment plans to ensure better outcomes. This article outlines several tactics and ways for pharmacists to collaborate with other healthcare professionals to improve healthcare outcomes and provide care continuity.
They work with doctors and nurses to reduce errors and develop care plans
Americans bank on their medications to ease symptoms and manage their health. Sadly, medication errors are relatively common in the US. Recent data shows that medication errors injure over 1.3 million Americans annually. Medication errors often result from dose miscalculations, compounding errors, poor drug distribution, and a lack of medication education.
Pharmacists can offer ongoing guidance, monitoring, and support to ensure medication effectiveness and prevent errors. This is especially useful for doctors and nurses dealing with patients suffering from a chronic condition or complex medication regimen. Unlike other healthcare professionals, pharmacists undergo rigorous training to ensure proper supervision of daily ordering and practical evaluation of patient prescriptions for patient accuracy.
While earning their Pharm.D online degree at a revered academic institution such as the University of Findlay, pharmacists learn the conceptual underpinnings required to manage individuals in a primary care environment, the connection between diseases brought on by daily psychological and physiological events and altered illness states, and complex pharmacological concepts. This way, they can explore the pathophysiological processes connected to illnesses and patient homeostasis changes across their lives. Moreover, it allows them to work with the healthcare team to develop care plans to achieve treatment goals through optimal medication therapy.
Developing a care plan requires constant iteration. As the patient’s condition improves or worsens, the healthcare team must find medications ideal for the current situation to improve outcomes and prevent drug interactions. As part of their training, pharmacists are taught to spot potential negative interactions, flag prescription errors, and dispense medication appropriate for the patient’s condition. This allows the entire healthcare team to provide excellent patient care and reduce workflow redundancies and operational inefficiencies.
They liaise with healthcare professionals to inform medication policies
The importance of medication education is too hard to ignore, with medication errors becoming one of the nation’s top causes for concern. One of the ways for pharmacists to prevent these errors is to work with executive healthcare colleagues to inform medication policies. This could be offering their opinion on which drugs are essential for hospitals to have a sufficient supply of, or which medicines have recently become available in the industry that can be included in a facility’s medication policy.
Like other healthcare processes, specific procedures and guidelines exist for safe medication handling, compounding, and dispensing. These procedures and guidelines ensure that healthcare professionals know their responsibilities and limitations when prescribing these medications. Unfortunately, not every healthcare professional and organization is aware of these guidelines. This can be detrimental to the patient and their overall reputation with more compliance laws being passed.
By educating other healthcare professionals about different medication policies, healthcare organizations, and hospitals can reduce dispensing errors and ensure that their personnel is familiar with the side effects of a particular medication. Doing so empowers doctors, nurses, physical therapists, dieticians, and other healthcare professionals to anticipate patient health changes and iterate their treatment plans to deliver better outcomes.
Moreover, informing healthcare executives of medical policies helps them create a standardized practice in providing medication support across their care providers. By creating a consistent process, they can reduce costs associated with medication errors, improve independence among their healthcare personnel, and allow resource efficiency. Furthermore, getting involved in policies around medication, what is used, and how it is administered can help other healthcare personnel offer the most effective and safest treatment.
They collaborate with dentists to treat dental patients with comorbidities
Pharmacists collaborate with dentists to treat patients with comorbidities. It is not uncommon for dental patients to suffer from concurrent diseases while getting dental treatment. This prompts them to take multiple medications, some of which could adversely affect their dental health and treatment. Many medications can cause bothersome oral side effects, such as swollen and tender gums, altered taste, and dry mouth.
By working with dentists, pharmacists can help dental patients combat these side effects and alleviate symptoms of certain drugs that can leave a metallic or bitter taste in their mouths. Some medications, stimulants, and inhalants can change the taste of what a patient eats. Since pharmacists are experts at pharmaceutical compounding, they can increase the palatability and adherence of these medications.
Moreover, they can also offer a customized dose for patients allergic to a component in the commercially available version of the drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration. By compounding medicines, pharmacists and dentists can reduce procedural anxiety, pain relief, mouth ulcers, canker sores, and gum diseases. Depending on the problem, a pharmacist can compound dental medications through flavoring, lollipops, gels, and pastes.
Besides pharmaceutical compounding, pharmacists can establish systems with dentists to share information about individuals’ healthcare. These systems can enable dentists to notify pharmacists when patients are overdue for a dental visit. Furthermore, pharmacists can support dentists by raising client awareness regarding toothbrush replacement issues and directing patients to available replacements.
Ensuring effective collaboration
Effective collaboration is more than a buzzword in today’s medical circles as healthcare organizations adopt a team-based approach to care to deal with the overwhelming number of patients and the medical personnel shortage. By empowering pharmacists to work with other healthcare professionals, they can manage fundamental health problems, reduce healthcare burdens, and allow hospitals and medical organizations to admit and treat more patients.