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Fam Med. 2013 Jan;45(1):33-6.

Optimizing resident physician use of clinical pharmacy services.

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  • 1University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.



Clinical pharmacists provide pharmacy services in family medicine residency programs across the nation. Currently, clinical pharmacy services are not optimally used by most residents. The objective of this study was to design strategies to educate family medicine resident physicians on optimal use of clinical pharmacy services.


Between April 2009 and May 2010, surveys and focus groups were conducted to develop educational strategies tailored to physician residents' needs. Strategies included visual reminders and one-on-one time between pharmacists and residents. Data on pharmacy services use was collected before and after implementing the educational strategies and analyzed to assess the effectiveness of the strategies.


Clinical pharmacy services use by resident physicians increased after the intervention (51.5% to 57.2%). Reasons providers used pharmacy services changed after the intervention, with increases in drug information (66.2% to 69.4%) and patient education services (2.5% to 7.2%) and a decrease in patient care services (31.2% to 23.3%). Pharmacists saw fewer uncomplicated patients (59.1% to 53.9%) and more complicated patients (19.7% to 38.5%) after the intervention.


Educating resident physicians on optimal use of pharmacy services required clarification of the pharmacist's role on the care team and in the educational process. The educational strategies defined the pharmacist role to include that of a preceptor and not just patient care provider, a distinction that is congruent with the medical teaching model. These strategies could be applied at other training sites to optimize use of clinical pharmacy services in physician residency training programs.

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