Opening the door to pharmacist–physician collaborations

I recently attended the Pharmacy Quality Alliance’s Annual Meeting and Innovation Forum, where I had the chance to talk with Jerry Penso, MD, MBA, Chief Medical and Quality Officer at the American Medical Group Association Foundation. One of the topics that we discussed was the growing importance of pharmacist–physician collaborations and the role of the pharmacist on the health care team.

We had this conversation in the context of discussions about evolving incentive- based payments that will reward those providers who meet rising quality standards.  The insight for pharmacists should be that we can help meet those standards, especially with regard to medication use. 

Penso published a thoughtful blog post, “The Pharmacist Will See You Now,” on LinkedIn that highlights the pharmacist’s role in caring for patients with complex needs. He noted that although pharmacists are “often left on the sidelines,” the situation is changing.

He provided two examples of pharmacists who are making a difference on patient care teams. The first is Emily Papineau from Community Health Network in Indiana. She is an ambulatory pharmacist who works side-by-side with physicians in their office. She performs a number of functions including conducting patient assessments, ordering drug therapy-related laboratory tests, and administering medications to improve patient outcomes.

The second example is Jennifer Humeniuk, a community pharmacist and patient care coordinator at Ralphs Pharmacy. She helps patients manage their prescriptions through medication synchronization and collaborates with the patient’s prescriber to streamline therapy and resolve medication problems.

Penso’s blog post nailed it. We know the impact pharmacists can have when effectively plugged into team-based care. When medical group practices see the benefits of pharmacist integration, and increasingly embrace the opportunity, our patients benefit! Penso is simply and accurately explaining why it is so important for pharmacists to have a prominent role on the health care team.

Often you have to lead by example, and we can be proud of all of the pharmacists who are taking a leadership role in collaborating with physicians and other health care providers to improve care quality of their patients and community.  In addition, APhA continues to play a leading role in the campaign to achieve provider status, which will recognize pharmacists as valued members of the health care team, and allow us to use our unique skills and extensive education to enhance patient health.

Thanks, Jerry, for a great and informative blog post! Visit to read the complete blog post.