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Br J Gen Pract. 2019 Sep 26;69(687):e665-e674. doi: 10.3399/bjgp19X705461. Print 2019 Oct.

Impact of integrating pharmacists into primary care teams on health systems indicators: a systematic review.

Author information

1
Department of Primary Care and Public Health.
2
Imperial College London, London.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Evidence suggests that pharmacists integrated into primary care can improve patient outcomes and satisfaction, but their impact on healthcare systems is unclear.

AIM:

To identify the key impacts of pharmacists' integration into primary care on health system indicators, such as healthcare utilisation and costs.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

A systematic review of literature.

METHOD:

Embase, MEDLINE, Scopus, the Health Management Information Consortium, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases were examined, along with reference lists of relevant studies. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies published up until June 2018, which considered health system outcomes of the integration of pharmacists into primary care, were included. The Cochrane risk of bias quality assessment tool was used to assess risk of bias for RCTs; the National Institute of Health National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute quality assessment tool was used for observational studies. Data were extracted from published reports and findings synthesised.

RESULTS:

Searches identified 3058 studies, of which 28 met the inclusion criteria. Most included studies were of fair quality. Pharmacists in primary care resulted in reduced use of GP appointments and reduced emergency department (ED) attendance, but increased overall primary care use. There was no impact on hospitalisations, but some evidence of savings in overall health system and medication costs.

CONCLUSION:

Integrating pharmacists into primary care may reduce GP workload and ED attendance. However, further higher quality studies are needed, including research to clarify the cost-effectiveness of the intervention and the long-term impact on health system outcomes.

KEYWORDS:

family practice; general practice; pharmacists; primary health care; workload

PMID:
31455642
PMCID:
PMC6713515
DOI:
10.3399/bjgp19X705461

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