This manuscript reviews 25 years of experience that include developing the practice of pharmaceutical care and initiating new practices. The impact this practice has on practitioners in the ambulatory setting is described as well as data that reflect its clinical and economic impact. There is a great need to prepare new practitioners to provide pharmaceutical care. A focused training program was developed and delivered to over 300 practitioners. The practitioners were prepared by providing direct patient care. They learned the philosophy of pharmaceutical care practice, to identify, resolve and prevent drug therapy problems, to document care using a specially designed software program called the Assurance Pharmaceutical Care(c) program. The practitioners who participated in the training program reported that the average amount of time spent with patients increased three-fold, they now see four times more patients than prior to training, and the number of new patients referred by physicians increased nine-fold as a result of the program. These practitioners have now provided care to more than 25,000 patients in their practices. These data have now been consolidated and analyzed, and a portion of these results is reported here. The clinical and economic outcomes from 2,985 adult patients, who received pharmaceutical care between January, 2000 and December, 2003, are presented. At the first assessment by the pharmaceutical care practitioner, 61% of the patients had one or more drug therapy problems identified and resolved. This resulted in an improvement in the clinical status or maintaining a stable status in 83% of the patients. The health care savings realized from pharmaceutical care were $1,134,162. This represented a benefit to cost ratio of 2:1. Physicians who collaborate with pharmaceutical care practitioners have validated the work of the practitioners, and patients are recognizing the benefits of pharmaceutical care.
Keywords: pharmaceutical care, drug therapy problem, patient outcomes, health care savings, assessment, care plan, follow-up evaluation, practitioner training
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