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Introducing clinical pharmacy specialists into interprofessional primary care teams: Assessing pharmacists' team integration and access to care for rural patients.

McCullough MB, Zogas A, Gillespie C, Kleinberg F, Reisman JI, Ndiwane N, Tran MH, Ourth HL, Morreale AP, Miller DR. Introducing clinical pharmacy specialists into interprofessional primary care teams: Assessing pharmacists' team integration and access to care for rural patients. Medicine. 2021 Sep 24; 100(38):e26689.

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT: Clinical pharmacy specialists (CPS) were deployed nationally to improve care access and relieve provider burden in primary care.The aim of this study was to assess CPS integration in primary care and the Clinical Pharmacy Specialist Rural Veteran Access (CRVA) initiative''s effectiveness in improving access.Concurrent embedded mixed-methods evaluation of participating CRVA CPS and their clinical team members (primary care providers, others).Health care providers on primary care teams in Veterans Health Administration (VHA).Perceived CPS integration in comprehensive medication management assessed using the MUPM and semi-structured interviews, and access measured with patient encounter data.There were 496,323 medical encounters with CPS in primary care over a 3-year period. One hundred twenty-four CPS and 1177 other clinical team members responded to a self-administered web-based questionnaire, with semi-structured interviews completed by 22 CPS and clinicians. Survey results indicated that all clinical provider groups rank CPS as making major contributions to CMM. CPS ranked themselves as contributing more to CMM than did their physician team members. CPS reported higher job satisfaction, less burn out, and better role fit; but CPS gave lower scores for communication and decision making as clinic organizational attributes. Themes in provider interviews focused on value of CPS in teams, relieving provider burden, facilitators to integration, and team communication issues.This evaluation indicates good integration of CPS on primary care teams as perceived by other team members despite some communication and role clarification challenges. CPS may play an important role in improving access to primary care.





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