Send to

Choose Destination
Res Social Adm Pharm. 2013 May-Jun;9(3):288-301. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2012.05.005. Epub 2012 Jul 25.

Working in interprofessional primary health care teams: what do pharmacists do?

Author information

C.T. Lamont Primary Health Care Research Centre, Bruyère Research Institute, 43 Bruyère Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 5C8, Canada.



Interprofessional teams are forming in primary health care. Little is known about how health care professional roles and routines develop in this environment.


This article describes the evolving routines of pharmacists working in new interprofessional teams, their perceptions of their roles, and perceptions of other providers toward the pharmacist role.


Ethnographic methods were used. Qualitative data derived from practice documents, field notes from practice activity and provider-patient interaction observations, and transcripts from interviews with patients and practice staff were analyzed in an exploratory manner using a constant comparative approach and immersion/crystallization. For this article, data pertaining to the role of pharmacists comprised a case study subanalysis.


Two typologies emerged with some pharmacists found to be (1) physician oriented: responding to physician requests for drug information and other projects, and others found to be (2) working at multiple levels of interaction: providing patient-centered care, provider education/information, and initiating system-level interventions to improve drug therapy.


Pharmacist routines and their own perception of their roles differed across interprofessional teams. Differences could be attributed to different educational background, philosophy of practice or characteristics of individual pharmacists, and also affected by leadership and communication within family health teams (FHTs). FHT leaders wanting to include a pharmacist to improve medication therapy should demonstrate leadership and vision by articulating needs and hiring a pharmacist with matching knowledge, skills, and qualities. A similar, generic approach may be useful to determine the need for and roles of any health care professional joining the team.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center