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Tuesday December 29, 2020  |  Kimberly Sanders, PharmD, Director, Medication Management Product Management

Collaboration Between Physicians and Pharmacists to Improve Quality and Patient Care

Collaboration between Physician and Pharmacist

Physician and Pharmacist collaboration can enhance patient care by increasing medication adherence, improving patient outcomes through medication management, and reducing medication errors and adverse drug reactions through collaboration on policy and protocol development. Other ways pharmacists can collaborate with physicians to make a positive impact at their facility include:

  • Quality-improvement and safety initiatives, for example surgical infection prophylaxis,
  • Serving on hospital committees, such as the Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) Committee,
  • Driving technology initiatives, such as barcode medication administration and computerized prescriber order entry, and
  • Providing student and other healthcare staff with education.1

Ultimately, this collaboration will increase physician satisfaction and promote success.

Improving Medication Adherence

Patient care can be significantly enhanced by improving medication adherence. Pharmacists can assist the physicians during discharge planning by evaluating the patient’s access to an outpatient pharmacy and out-of-pocket costs, as well as providing patient medication education prior to discharge.1 As the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted, “When pharmacists are part of the health care team, outcomes related to preventing or managing chronic diseases and adherence to their medications improve.”2

Medication Management

Improved medication management can be achieved with workflows that provide physicians with pharmacist input prior to prescribing in areas such as diabetes, hypertension, opioids, and antimicrobials. For example, pharmacists can assist with opioid management by assessing the patient’s prior opioid use using the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), providing patient education, and through opioid tapering services.3 Pharmacists can manage diabetic patients through collaboration with physicians and improve their patient’s glycemic control through medical history review, monitoring baseline laboratory values, medication adherence, blood glucose monitoring, adjusting medications when needed, and providing individualized diabetes education.4

Policy & Protocol Development

Pharmacists’ involvement in policy and protocol development can promote superior patient outcomes and reduced medication errors and adverse drug reactions while improving physician satisfaction. Pharmacists are medication experts that can contribute to the development and implementation of patient care guidelines and other medication-use policies.1 Pharmacists participating in hospital committees, such as the Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) Committee, have the ability to guide their institution’s use of medications based on comparative studies and cost analysis and then drive that use by making therapeutic substitutions part of hospital policy.

Identifying Opportunities for Improvement

More valuable opportunities for collaboration between physicians and pharmacists at your facility can be identified through analysis of current outcomes where pharmacists could have improved the result with additional information or a different perspective. For example, pharmacists participating in multi-disciplinary teams, such as Antimicrobial Stewardship and Anticoagulation Stewardship teams, can improve quality of patient care.1

In order to be efficient care team members, pharmacists require timely access to hospitalists for consultation and access to the patient’s chart.1 With MEDHOST Enterprise Clinicals, pharmacists can access the patient’s full chart to complete home medication reconciliations, view or place orders, view lab results, view or write clinical notes, and view medication administrations. Additionally, pharmacists have an ability to create a note to communicate consult follow-ups, document rounding notes, or provide medication change recommendations to the physician. To learn more about how MEDHOST Enterprise Clinicals can help your physician-pharmacist collaboration, please reach out to us at or call 1.800.383.6278.


1American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. (2008). ASHP-SHM Joint Statement on Hospitalist-Pharmacist Collaboration. Retrieved from here

2CDC. Advancing Team-Based Care Through Collaborative Practice Agreements: A Resource and Implementation Guide for Adding Pharmacists to the Care Team. Retrieved from here.  

3D’Arrigo, T. (2018, May 1). Physicians share how they've collaborated best with pharmacists. Pharmacy Today. Retrieved from here.  

4Ramser, K. L., Sprabery, L. R., George, C. M., Hamann, G. L., Vallejo, V. A., Dorko, C. S., & Kuhl, D. A. (2008). Physician-Pharmacist Collaboration in the Management of Patients with Diabetes Resistant to Usual Care. Diabetes Spectrum, 21, 209-214. 

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