GP pharmacists provide "superpowers" in healthcare teams

09 May, 2017

Pharmacists providing integrated care in GP clinics have "superpowers" according to an international medical expert, the peak national body for pharmacists, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) highlighted today.

Dr Kirsten Meisinger, from Boston's Cambridge Health Alliance, said pharmacists provide "superpowers" in multidisciplinary teams with a GP and practice nurse in offering patient-centred care.

Dr Meisinger – a pioneer of the American patient-centred primary care model said general practices that have adopted the primary healthcare model have reported improved health outcomes and better patient engagement.

Ahead of next week's Federal Budget, PSA reiterated calls for the Federal Government to support a large-scale trial integrating pharmacists in general practice, to determine the best approach for an evidence-based model in Australia.

PSA National Vice President Dr Chris Freeman said: "Dr Meisinger's comments are no surprise to us – we have known for some time about the benefits that a practice pharmacist brings to patient care.

In Australia, the GP-pharmacist concept has been endorsed by many leading medical organisations, practitioners and experts – highlighting the value pharmacists add to the primary healthcare team and the savings this generates for the system as a whole.

"But the growth of this model has been limited to a small number of practices due to the absence of funding – and this has led to Australia falling behind other countries in terms of this collaborative healthcare approach."

In its 2017-18 Budget submission, PSA also outlined other key health reforms including calls for pharmacists to become digital health champions to optimise medication management and encourage uptake of e-health records.

"A new report about My Health Records, released 4 May 2017, highlighted the benefits for pharmacists embracing the digital health potential within the patient-centric care model. Consumers do want their pharmacists involved," Dr Freeman said.

Dr Freeman said there were many positive outcomes for Australia by optimising the role of pharmacists, especially within collaborative healthcare frameworks.

"Pharmacists and the community pharmacy sector are critical to the Government's efforts to achieve sustainable, efficient and quality healthcare for all Australians."

To read PSA's 2017-18 Budget submission: Optimising the contribution of pharmacists to achieve sustainable, efficient and quality healthcare for all Australians, click here>>