By Dr. Jennifer L. Evans, Fort Meade Medical Department Activity
With the increased prescription intake among older adults, Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center has expanded its pharmacy services.
Kimbrough is integrating clinical pharmacists in every Patient Centered Medical Home to dedicate their time to direct-patient care activities and serve as the medication expert to promote health and wellness.
Recognizing the need to optimize use of medication, Army Medicine has prioritized clinical pharmacist involvement with medication education and management. Part of that response includes increasing the number of clinical pharmacists at military treatment facilities.
Clinical pharmacists work outside of the pharmacy in clinical settings and are granted patient care privileges that allow them to perform a full range of patient care, which includes laboratory interpretation and medication decision-making functions.
The specialized knowledge and clinical experience needed to practice in this capacity is usually gained through residency training and specialist board certification.
Clinical pharmacists not only manage specific chronic disease states, but also manage medications across all aspects of primary care and enable the team to reach for the common goal of improving patient outcomes.
Clinical pharmacists are educated and trained in direct patient-care environments after they earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.
All clinical pharmacists care about medication safety and will meet individually to provide a customized medication-treatment plan. Kimbrough offers appointments with the clinical pharmacist in the patient’s primary care team throughout the prescription renewal and refill process.
Clinical pharmacists can assist with managing a variety of medication-related topics including:
- Chronic disease states such as hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes and asthma
- Complex medication regimen
- Special medication dosing for kidney or liver insufficiency
- Medication monitoring such as anticoagulation or blood thinners
- Reduction of medication risk such as pain, polypharmacy or with transitions in health care
- Medication support for quitting tobacco
Along with the clinical pharmacists, the clinical pharmacy technicians assist with reinforcing medication education and appointment scheduling. They are a vital part of the patient-centered medical home team as they also reach out to beneficiaries to ensure safe medication storage and disposal.
With the dual purpose of performing clinical and administrative tasks, the clinical pharmacy technicians allow the pharmacists to take on an increased load of patients and have direct patient care in order to improve patient outcomes as their main focus.
During the clinical pharmacist visit, the pharmacist will review and assess medication for tolerability and effect. A drug-interaction screening will also determine the safety of multiple medications that are taken simultaneously.
Clinical pharmacists can recognize untreated health problems that could be improved or resolved with appropriate medication therapy, then follow the patient to determine the effects of the medications on the patient’s health.
This collaboration period is beneficial to patients who may have additional concerns and questions about their current medications.
Kimbrough beneficiarires have access to Kimbrough’s clinical pharmacists at their medical home team.
Kimbrough’s electronic medication record is connected across the military health system to allow for efficient transitions of care — no matter where the service member, retiree or beneficiary is stationed.
To schedule an appointment with the clinical pharmacist, call the clinical pharmacy at 301-677-8278.