Having pharmacists involved directly in patient care teams could be key to improving outcomes, according to a review of almost 300 studies.
The US-based meta-analysis revealed patients experienced “largely favourable” results in terms of lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol and better glycaemic control when pharmacists were involved.
Lead researcher and head of the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, Dr Marie Chisholm-Burns said the study showed pharmacists should play a bigger role in direct patient care and not simply dispense medications.
“Favourable results were found in therapeutic and safety outcomes, and meta-analyses for haemoglobin A1c, LDL cholesterol, blood pressure and adverse drug events were significant, favouring pharmacists’ direct patient care over comparative services.
“Results for humanistic outcomes were favourable with variability; medication adherence, patient knowledge and quality of life were [also] significant, favouring pharmacists’ direct involvement,” she said.
The combined data analysis showed nearly a two per cent improvement in haemoglobin A1c levels in patients with diabetes, while direct pharmacist care led to more than a 6 mg/dL reduction in LDL cholesterol in patients with high cholesterol and an average 8/3 mm Hg reduction in blood pressure in patients with hypertension.
The results also showed the rates of adverse drug reactions fell by almost 50 per cent when pharmacists were part of a health care team, with medication errors decreasing significantly as well.
Dr Chisholm-Burns said the results showed a team-based approach to the health care involving doctors, nurses and other health professionals, including pharmacists was beneficial to patient outcomes.
“Pharmacist-provided direct patient care has favourable effects across various patient outcomes, health care settings and disease states.
“Incorporating pharmacists as health care team members in direct patient care is a viable solution to help improve health care,” she concluded.