This project tested the premise that expanding the role of the pharmacist could improve drug therapy and reduce drug-related morbidity and costs. Researchers first deconstructed drug-related decision-making models — which range from paternalistic (decisions made entirely by the physician) to informed (the physician telling the patient what is happening and why) to shared (decisions made jointly by physician and patient) — to arrive at a list of eight potential roles a pharmacist could play. Then they interviewed key stakeholders about drug therapy decision-making and the role and reimbursement of pharmacists. Finally, they devised questions seeking reactions to five possible pharmacist roles, such as providing drug information to physicians, doing personal comprehensive medication assessments, and serving as an independent practitioner. They found that while all three groups generally support the principles of collaborative practice and a more integral role for pharmacists, physicians have more conservative opinions than do patients and pharmacists about the roles that would be acceptable, and they are less comfortable with the possibility of pharmacists having access to medical histories and charts. No strong concerns were expressed that the provision of any additional or enhanced services would conflict with the pharmacist’s business role or would cost the health care system too much money.
This project was supported by the Health Transition Fund, which was created in 1997 to provide support for evidence-based decision-making in health care reform by supporting pilot and evaluation projects which test innovative approaches to health care delivery. The views expressed herein do no necessarily represent the official policy of federal, provincial, or territorial governments.