The use of Hospital Pharmacists on Antibiotic Choice on Inpatients

With the increase prevalence of antibiotic resistant infections, maintaining the integrity of older antibiotics while using more advanced antibiotics in certain situations has become an important aspect of hospital medicine. Programs such as the Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) have risen to help facilitate when these antibiotics should be used.  It is important for an interprofessional team to be assembled to make sure that antibiotics are being used properly.

There was a study conducted at two Australian hospitals to see how pharmacists believe that they can help in the role of managing antibiotic use as well as how they believe they are perceived in this role. The study interviewed 19 pharmacists of varying degrees expertise level as well as varying levels of education beyond the pharmacy degree.  The study also included 12 female and 9 male pharmacists.  The pharmacists were given surveys as well as were interviewed about questions pertaining to how they play a role in the use of antibiotics, how they are perceived in this role, and challenges they face in this role.

The results of these interviews showed that the pharmacist felt that they were experts when it comes to the use of antibiotics since they are specifically trained in medications. They also felt that they had a watchful responsibility over some of the specific antibiotics since they have to be specifically ordered from the pharmacy.  They felt that they were considered major problem solvers when it came to this issue or their profession in general.  They generally believed that they were not always used to the outmost importance by some of the other healthcare providers since they are traditionally seen as a dispenser.  They also are not the ones that ordered the medication therefore they are not seen in the same importance.  This is a major problem when it comes to  interprofessionalism between colleagues in the healthcare field.  Furthermore, by not using the pharmacist, the healthcare team is missing out on information from medication experts.

This study is one very specific example of how pharmacist are trained to make an impact on the prescribing that is going on in a hospital setting but yet how they are not being used to their fullest potential. Interprofessionalism is an important aspect in improving the care of patients. This study should be reproduced in different settings across the world to promote to use of pharmacist as well as increase the rapport between the different healthcare professionals on a healthcare team.

http://BMC Health Serv Res. 2015; 16: 43.