Activities performed by pharmacists integrated in family health teams: Results from a web-based survey
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Objectives: Family health teams (FHTs), an interprofessional primary care practice model, were established in Ontario in 2005. As of October 2014, 191 FHT organizations were in operation, and 111 (58%) included one or several pharmacists. The objective of this study was to document the focus of pharmacist activities in FHTs. Approach: We invited all 155 known FHT pharmacists to a web-based survey. The survey was constructed using information obtained from previously done semi-structured telephone interviews with pharmacists working in FHTs. The survey consisted of a list of activities, grouped into 5 main categories, and participants were asked to estimate time spent on each category. Free-text response questions allowed participants to identify activities not listed. Survey results were analyzed using descriptive statistics and content analysis for open-ended responses. Results: Seventy (45%) pharmacists completed the survey. The mean respondent age was 43 years, and the average length of time working in an FHT was 4 years. All pharmacists reported being engaged in some form of direct patient care, including managing single therapeutic issues (96%), conducting general medication reviews (70%) and medication reconciliation after hospitalization (63%). Most reported providing education and drug information (83%). Pharmacists felt their work would increase patient medication adherence (94%) and physician adherence to recommended guidelines (86%), as well as reduce inappropriate prescribing (93%), polypharmacy (90%), emergency room and hospital utilization (70%-81%). Conclusion: Pharmacists in FHTs are strongly focused on direct patient care activities, managing specific medication issues and unstructured drug information to physicians. The majority of pharmacists reported that their activities had a substantial impact on patient medication use and health. The findings from this survey can assist pharmacists new to FHT practice, health policy planning and health research to assess associations between pharmacist activities and measures of health and health care system performance.
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