Integration and impact of pharmacists in general practice internationally: A rapid review

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Objective: English general practices have been facing ongoing pressures, arising from complicated health care needs and the recent pandemic. To overcome these pressures and reduce the workload of general practitioners, there have been extensive attempts to integrate pharmacists into general practices. A number of literature reviews, often systematic, have partially explored the topic of general practice-based pharmacists (GPBPs) internationally. Our aim was to further explore the employment/integration models of GPBPs and their actual activities and impact, concepts that have not been thoroughly investigated by previous reviews. Methods: Two databases were searched from inception to June 2021 for studies published in the English language. Results were independently screened by two reviewers to establish eligibility for inclusion. Original research studies, or protocols where results had not been released at the time of search, that reported on services provided by pharmacists with some sort of integration into general practices were included. The studies were analysed using narrative synthesis. Results: Searches identified 3206 studies in total, of which 75 met the inclusion criteria. The included studies were highly heterogeneous in terms of participants involved and methodologies employed. Integration of pharmacists into general practices has occurred in several countries, with funds originating from multiple sources. Several employment models for GPBPs were described – for example, part-time and full-time work and/or coverage of multiple or single practices. GPBP activities, with some exceptions, were comparable between different countries, with medication reviews being the most common task globally. GPBP impact was identified through both observational and/or interventional research methods, by pursuing a large variety of measures (e.g. activity volume, contact with patients, perceptions/experiences, and patient outcomes). Independent, quantifiable outcomes from GPBP activities were all positive but were of varying statistical significance. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that GPBP services can lead to positive, quantifiable outcomes, mainly in relation to medication use. This shows the usefulness of GPBP services. The findings of this review can help policy makers decide how best to implement and fund GPBP services, and how to identify and measure GPBP impact.




Karampatakis, G. D., Patel, N., Stretch, G., & Ryan, K. (2024, January 1). Integration and impact of pharmacists in general practice internationally: A rapid review. Journal of Health Services Research and Policy. SAGE Publications Ltd.

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