What's a Clinical Pharmacist and How Can They Help?

What's a Clinical Pharmacist and How Can They Help?

Post Date: Mar 23, 2022

In Community Health Partners’ pursuit to provide integrated care and treat the whole patient, we’re finding ways to better connect every touchpoint in the healthcare experience. One of the newest ways we’re doing this is by adding a clinical pharmacist to our medical teams in Bozeman. This is becoming more common in healthcare clinics, as it’s proven to result in better health outcomes in patients. But what exactly is a clinical pharmacist, and how will they make a difference for patients at CHP? We sat down with CHP’s Pharmacy Director Shawn Patrick to learn more.

What is a Clinical Pharmacist?

A clinical pharmacist bridges the gap between a medical team and a retail pharmacy. Located within a clinic rather than a pharmacy, clinical pharmacists bring their knowledge and expertise of medications to healthcare appointments. They’re available on the medical floor to consult with patients on their medication treatment options, providing important information about cost, benefits, side effects, potential interactions with other medications and more.

Though they don’t work in a pharmacy, clinical pharmacists share the same education and training as retail pharmacists, though some may have more specific certifications. Most of all, they bring another level of value and expertise to your medical team.

What They Bring to a Medical Team

Working in the clinic as part of a medical team means clinical pharmacists have access to their patients’ medical history. This way, they’ll know if a patient has had a bad reaction to a medication previously, or which medications they already may have tried unsuccessfully. A clinical pharmacist is also notified when a patient hasn’t filled a prescription. They’re then able to contact the patient to figure out what’s going on and what might work better. Was the treatment too expensive? Was there a side-effect they didn’t like? This conversation creates an opportunity for problem-solving together and better ongoing care.

They also help prevent issues caused by polypharmacy, a situation where a patient might be taking five or more medications at the same time. While this can be done safely with proper care, taking multiple medications increases the chance you’ll have harmful side effects. The clinical pharmacist’s role can help monitor for that and make changes as needed.

Having a clinical pharmacist in-house adds another layer of personalized medical care for each patient. By offering critical input on medication use and dosing, clinical pharmacists can help create better outcomes for patients when it comes to finding treatment that works.

When a patient has a medication that works and they take it regularly with minimal side effects, they’re likely to be healthier – body and mind. With a clinical pharmacist on board, we can work to make this a reality for all CHP patients.

How CHP Works to Make Prescriptions More Affordable

A common barrier to taking prescribed medication is the cost. That’s why CHP is on a mission to make medication more affordable to patients who need it. Between income-based discounts, patient assistance programs that allow patients to get their medications for free, and donated medications, CHP works to make affordable medication accessible to everyone.

If you have concerns about paying for your medication, connect with a resource coordinator to see what kind of help you qualify for. If you’re struggling with something you may need treatment for, schedule an appointment at CHP to learn your options. CHP is here to help you find quality healthcare, affordably.