UCSF

The dean advocates for medication lists and pharmacist engagement in patient care

Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., trailing cancer and heart disease. Many of those errors can be traced to issues with medications.

By diligently tracking the medications that each patient takes, and bringing trained pharmacists into the fold of everyday patient care, our health system could be made more effective and safer, UCSF School of Pharmacy Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, explains in a recent article for The Conversation.

Pharmacists are already experts at helping patients avoid redundant prescriptions and adverse drug reactions. But current community pharmacy business models focus on the volume of drugs dispensed, according to Guglielmo.

Armed with accurate medication lists, or “medlists,” pharmacists in a new patient-centered business model could routinely provide more detailed oversight of the medications each patient takes—identifying dangerous interactions between drugs, suggesting dosage adjustments in response to patient-reported side effects and changes in patient health, and maintaining vital connections with patients outside the hospital, says Guglielmo. What’s more, in this model pharmacists could further leverage their skills at mediating between patients, other clinicians, and insurance providers.

Pharmacists are trained and poised to eliminate medication errors and ensure the best health care for all, he states, but change will require a radical shift in the business of pharmacy.

Read the dean’s commentary in full:
How pharmacists can help solve medication errors (The Conversation)


About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.