The Importance of Physician-Pharmacist Collaboration

Dec 6, 2023


Alto Pharmacy

The Importance of Physician-Pharmacist Collaboration
The Importance of Physician-Pharmacist Collaboration
The Importance of Physician-Pharmacist Collaboration

There’s a reason for the term “care team.” The complexities of managing a chronic condition require a broad support system of multiple healthcare professionals with diverse expertise, including pharmacists.

With medications integral to the treatment of many conditions, pharmacists are a unique asset to a care team, offering guidance that can strengthen health outcomes. In order to maximize a pharmacist’s expertise, and make their participation in a patient’s treatment as impactful as possible, it’s vital that they work closely with prescribers.

Here’s more on the necessity of physician-pharmacist collaboration and how Alto’s model and offerings support this important relationship.

The urgency of medication adherence

Nearly two-thirds of US adults take prescription medications, but adherence to chronic medications — which refers to taking a medication as prescribed — is just 50%. This significantly impacts the effectiveness of treatment. In fact, research has found that medication adherence can play a greater role in health outcomes than the specific treatment itself, and non-adherence is a factor in up to 50% of treatment failures and up to 25% of hospitalizations in the US each year.

The barriers to medication adherence are complex, with multiple factors often at play, including complicated medication regimens, a lack of medication management support, and financial challenges. Pharmacists can play a critical role in addressing these barriers.

Medication education is a vital first step to following through on treatment and effectively managing one’s health. Patients should understand how a medication fits into the greater picture of an overall care plan, including its specific purpose and how it works. It’s also critical to know exactly what is required to take that medication as prescribed, which in many cases includes routine testing, clinical monitoring, and side effect management on top of taking every dose on time.

Pharmacists have the expertise to fill this need for patient education. They are also uniquely equipped to simplify a complex medication regimen, further supporting adherence. That could mean:

The importance of physician-pharmacist collaboration

Expanding a pharmacist’s role in treatment doesn’t just entail more frequent and more meaningful interactions between patients and pharmacists — it requires consistent communication between pharmacists and physicians as well. A pharmacist cannot offer the best recommendations about simplifying a protocol without first consulting the prescriber. And a physician must be kept in the loop in order to benefit from a pharmacist’s insights into a patient’s progress with medication management.

Alto strives to continuously improve the prescription experience and maximize the possibilities of pharmacy care for not only patients, but also clinical teams. To this end, our integrated technology stack includes a provider communications portal, Alto Connect, in addition to an internal pharmacy management system and top-rated patient mobile app.

Secure and HIPAA-compliant, Alto Connect offers total visibility into a patient’s prescriptions from the minute we receive them. It allows providers to:

  • View all of a patient’s active prescriptions, including delivery status, out-of-pocket costs, and refills

  • Communicate directly with our pharmacy team

  • Respond quickly to clinical clarifications and track prior authorization submissions

  • Get alerts when a prescription needs extra attention

By staying off the phone and lightening their administrative load, practices that use Alto Connect save an average of 3+ hours every day.

About Alto Pharmacy

Since 2015, Alto’s model has centered on the critical role of pharmacists as the final link in a person’s health journey. We make it easier for patients to stay on track with treatment through fast and reliable prescription delivery, convenient medication management tools, and guidance from expert pharmacists. Our patient-focused experience has resulted in an industry-leading primary adherence rate of 70%.

Get started with Alto Connect

With Alto Connect, our communications portal for providers, we streamline every step of the prescription process for clinical teams. It’s completely free to use, with no software installation required. Get started in minutes here or download the app today.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.