There may be some confusion about the full role of the professional pharmacist in medical care. The patient, with
prescription from a physician in hand may consider the
diagnostic phase completed and comes to the pharmacist for
the prescribed medication to take for their physician identified
illness. On the other hand, pharmacists after their studies and
licensing may feel that they represent another link in the role of illness diagnosis. But, are they? Some feel that they do and “Although debate about pharmacists’ diagnostic role has existed for some time both within the pharmacy profession and between professions (mainly medicine and pharmacy), there is considerable evidence, especially from community practice, that pharmacists commonly engage in diagnosis.”
But, “Changes to modernize traditional medical education and care delivery are, in fact, currently being introduced, with interdisciplinary health professional teams emerging as a core element of new models. Before graduates of different health programs are assigned practice responsibilities, however, many questions still need to be answered: What are the core functions and responsibilities of practitioners in each profession? What is the minimum education and training needed for someone to attain the core competencies required to perform these functions well and safely? Where do the different professions intersect and where could the public benefit from services offered by more than one provider? How can interprofessional learning and practice environments foster and support collaboration? How can we prevent turf battles and encourage true collaborative, patient-centred, complementary care?“
So, the question to my blog readers is whether, as a patient, you would think that pharmacists should taught further to play the bigger role as diagnostician beyond screening and packing medication already prescribed by the examining physician? Are you satisfied with the relationship you have with your licensed pharmacist? Would you want your pharmacist to learn and carry out more clinical responsibility? Physicians in the past and occasionally now have dispensed medication to their office patients after making a diagnosis. Should pharmacists take on a bit of the responsibility of making a diagnosis based on their more limited pharmacy school and hospital internship experiences? How do you want your pharmacist to be interacting with you as a patient? ..Maurice.
Graphic: From Google Images and NIDDK Image Library.