What Is The Role Of A Clinical Pharmacist?

clinical pharmacist placing medication in the hand of patientThe healthcare of your patient requires a multi-faceted approach. Not only does it need the right interventions, but it also requires support from healthcare experts in different areas of medicine. The clinical pharmacist position plays an integral part in your patient’s health systems when medications are prescribed to your patient by various medical specialists.

Ideally, the various health care professionals who provide services in each facet of healthcare collaborate to offer an integrated approach to addressing your patient’s health issues and supporting your patients. The number of medical specialties and sub-specialties is vast. Depending on your patient’s medical profile, his healthcare team may involve specific specialists in some of these disciplines.

You are one of the members of your patient’s health care team. If you are a primary care provider of your patient, you have a position to help your patient coordinate care among the various specialists in his healthcare. The role of a clinical pharmacist is often overlooked because people usually consider pharmacies where a pharmacist dispenses drugs behind a counter.

He is an expert in medication management and supplements. He can take a broad view of the medicines and supplements that your patient is currently taking and can see if there are any possible issues with these substances that are taken together.

Clinical Pharmacist vs. Retail Pharmacist

Unlike pharmacists who work in a retail setting, clinical pharmacists work in health care settings. They work in hospitals, clinics, and other locations where the community receives medical care. The clinical pharmacy profession has the education and training in patient care because,

in many circumstances, they can also be consultants to doctors and are given the authority to decide the appropriate medications and dosages to prescribe. Many healthcare settings give clinical pharmacists this decision-making authority based on their knowledge, training, and clinical experience in medicine and drug therapies.

How To Become A Clinical Pharmacist?

Many pharmacists who want to become clinical pharmacists complete an accredited residency training program in pharmacy and/or attend the American College of Clinical Pharmacy in the United States. It can take anywhere from 2 to 4 years to complete an accredited residency program in this branch of pharmacy and then pass the certification exam.

After completing their pharmacy residency, they may need to pass a certification exam and meet other eligibility requirements before they can be licensed and begin working as clinical pharmacists or as a Doctor of Pharmacy.

In the United States, the American Association of Clinical Pharmacists (AACP) has established the Certification in Therapeutic Pharmaceuticals program to provide pharmacists with the education and experience needed to work as therapeutic drug specialists.

While becoming a clinical pharmacist may require a few years of education and experience to earn a pharm degree, it is an excellent career choice that offers pharmacists additional training and the opportunity to work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings. A great read about the subject can be found in the book Clinical Pharmacy Education, Practice and Research edited by Dixon Thomas.

What Specifically Can They Do?

One of the primary responsibilities of a clinical pharmacist is to work directly with doctors and others, as well as your patient, to make sure that the drugs prescribed will contribute to the ideal health outcomes of your patient.

They communicate, interact, and collaborate with doctors frequently, ensuring that the various medical experts on your patient’s care team are on the same page about the goal.

Evaluate Your Patient’s Medication Protocol

Your patient may have multiple health conditions that different specialists handle. Each specialization may prescribe a medication to address a specific situation. They can evaluate your patient’s medication protocol prescribed by various health care team members to see if the protocol is appropriate and effective.

He can assess your patient’s health conditions and determine if the prescriptions from multiple doctors are the ideal choices for meeting your patient’s medical goals. A clinical pharmacist is well versed in drug interactions. They can help you identify potential problems with your patient’s medication regimen or suggest alternatives.

Monitor the Effectiveness of Medication

They can monitor your patient’s progress and response to the effective use of medications to see if the results are consistent with the goals. Suppose your patient reports any side effects or cannot tolerate the medication. In that case, they can collaborate with your patient’s doctor or another member of his medical care team who prescribed the original medication to choose an alternative that is a better option for delivering the best outcome for your patient’s therapy goals.

Advise Your Patient On Taking Medications

The clinical pharmacist depends on their professional relationship with your patient to customize their advice to best fulfill their specific health care needs and goals. They are the key player on your patient’s health care team who can ensure that the medication protocol is appropriate and effective and that the dosing is safe for your patient. They can answer any questions your patient may have about medications.

Some medicines need to be taken in a certain way. For example, some medicines are better when your patient takes them with food because taking them on an empty stomach might cause excessive irritation to the stomach. On the other hand, some medications might be more effective when your patient takes them on an empty stomach so the medicine can be absorbed into the body quicker. They will advise your patient on the best way to take the medication.

Also, sometimes patients might be averse to taking medication in a specific form. For example, your patient might have a problem with swallowing pills, or the pill might be too large to be swallowed comfortably. The clinical pharmacist can help your patient find the best way to take medicine. He might teach your patient how to cut a large pill by using a pill splitter.

They might find a liquid dosing form of the same medication that can be prescribed instead. It is a conversation to have with the doctor who prescribed the original medicines.

Consultant to Other Medical Providers Regarding Medication

The clinical pharmacist has in-depth expertise in medications. Other medical professionals may have studied the actions of some drugs in their specialty, but they do not have a comparable level of in-depth knowledge of drugs. Therefore, it is quite common for a doctor in a medical specialty to consult with the clinical pharmacist as their primary source of information before he prescribes a specific medication.

He will apply his specialized knowledge and advise the medical specialist on the clinical use of this medication based on scientific findings. He will inform the doctor about the medication’s behavior and any possible risks and adverse effects it can cause.

If the medical specialist has information on the other medications and/or supplements your patient takes, they can advise on potential interactions and medication errors. As an independent prescriber he can also help determine the proper medication dosage for your patient based on the symptoms, age, weight, and other factors influencing dosage.

pharmacist talking on phone

Support the Healthcare Team

If your patient has health conditions that are not being addressed, the clinical pharmacist can make recommendations of an appropriate therapy using medications that can improve or resolve the condition. He draws on his knowledge and clinical experience with medications to recommend solutions that can contribute to resolving a health problem.

In working with your patient’s doctor, he can recommend a specific protocol, including proper medication dosage. He can work with your patient’s healthcare providers to develop a medication adherence plan to fulfill your patient’s overall health care goals. They can refer your patient to his doctor to address other possible concerns that can affect your patient’s health. These concerns might go beyond physical health, such as concerns about your patient’s mental health.

He might make recommendations on how to educate your patient in improving his diet, exercise, staying active, and taking steps in prevention such as immunizations. It might overlap with what the other health professionals on the team are doing. Therefore, the team must collaborate to support your patient’s overall wellness.

How BioScan Supports Your Patients

The BioScan System is an easy way for you to screen your patient for any issues that may affect his health. It is a non-invasive way to see if there are any imbalances or sensitivities in your patient’s body. The Galvanic Skin Response electrodes are usually placed on the patient’s fingers. The scan will go through the system’s substances in the database to detect if any of these elements are potential red flags for your patient. It is non-invasive, requires no needles, and does not induce pain. It is even safe for children.

The system can determine if any substances contribute to stress in your patient’s body, either acutely or chronically. It also reports on how severe the body’s reaction is without subjecting your patient to the actual stressor.

Color-Coded Reports

The scan can help you see what can be bothering your patient. It also provides an easy-to-read report you can show your patient as you explain the possible at-risk areas. The results are color-coded. Balanced areas show up with a green bar, meaning there is no concern in these areas currently. For areas that have acute problems, those items are represented in red. These require immediate attention.

The results also show whether the problems are acute or chronic. Verbally explaining possible health issues can sometimes be difficult for your patient to absorb. With a visual aid from the scan, your patient can make the connection and will be able to ask informed questions.

You can print out this report so your patient can have a hard copy to take with him after he leaves your clinic. He can take this report to his appointments with the other medical specialists on his health care team. This information becomes valuable for others helping your patient because they have more concrete information than just what your patient verbally describes.

Clinical Pharmacists And BioScan

They can see which body systems are of concern, which can help them develop appropriate protocols for your patient. If any of the available protocols involve supplements or medications, the role of a clinical pharmacist becomes more critical. The report of your patient’s sensitivities can help the pharmacist see potential allergic reactions to any medicines prescribed.

If there are risks, he can contact the medical provider who prescribed the medication to discuss alternatives. The same can be said of supplements. The pharmacist can determine potential interactions between the supplements and your patient’s medications.

The BioScan system can also help you see if the supplements or medications are doing what they should. Your patient can schedule a follow-up visit with you after being on the protocol for a certain period, as recommended by you. During the follow-up visit, your patient can go through the BioScan again and see if any improvements are made in the body’s responses to stressors. The protocol can be adjusted based on the progress to improve the outcome.

In Summary

doctor holding a clipboardThe body is a complex machine that requires the knowledge and expertise of various healthcare experts to support its maintenance. As a primary care provider, you can coordinate care among the healthcare professionals who play a part in your patient’s healthcare. Understanding the role of a clinical pharmacist can help you design a way to collaborate with him as you develop a plan for your patient’s health care.

Both of you can take a broad view of your patient’s health care as the pharmacist reviews the medications prescribed by the different specialists and determine if there are any potential interactions for your patient. Like you, he collaborates with other healthcare specialists and your patient’s healthcare team.

The BioScan System can be your patient’s first stop in discovering the possible causes of his health problems. It is an easy, painless, and non-invasive way to screen your patient to identify potential contributors to your patient’s negative symptoms. Any red flags can be specified for further follow-up. It helps in facilitating the coordination of your patient’s health care among the various medical specialties and provides better patient outcomes.


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