Collaborative Initiative an Attempt to Fill Gap in Physician Shortage
Eureka, CA (January 3rd, 2018) – St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County (SJH-HC) and St. Joseph Health
Medical Group (SJHMG) have partnered to introduce a clinically trained,
hospital pharmacist into primary care. The collaboration is part of a
deep-dive strategy to address the growing need for primary care providers
in Humboldt County. Lyndsey Chamberlain, Pharm D, began her new role in
the outpatient clinic setting in mid-November with SJHMG physicians just
recently transitioned from Eureka Family Practice.
In her new capacity, Chamberlain will leverage her clinical pharmacy background
to provide critical support for physicians by assisting with prescription
refill authorizations, ordering labs, receiving referrals from providers
for in-depth medication review, and one-on-one patient consultations for
diabetes and pain management. The primary focus for Chamberlain is improving
the health of diabetic patients through medication management and education,
thereby creating a healthier community.
“Primary care providers have different strengths and areas of expertise
when it comes to prescribing medications to treat various disease states
such as diabetes, pain management hyperlipidemia, and hypertension,”
said Terry Lerma, Pharm D, Area Director, Pharmacy Services, SJH-HC. “Lyndsey’s
role as a clinical pharmacist integrated in the primary care setting is
to identify clinical best practices and leverage the individual strengths
and expertise of each one of the providers so as to effectively standardize
the prescribing of medication throughout the primary care clinic.”
The clinical pharmacist is in an excellent position to offer “curbside”
medication consultations to assist medical providers and patients, improving
clinical outcomes. They are also in a good position to focus their efforts
on patients with complicated medication regimens and help them to simplify
their regimens. This novel, developing role for a hospital trained pharmacist
will bring new and unrealized value to the outpatient care setting.
Chamberlain, who spent 12 years at SJH-HC as a clinical pharmacist and
Area Manager of Pharmacy Services for St. Joseph Hospital and Redwood
Memorial Hospital, oriented and trained for the new role this fall at
three distinguished healthcare organizations in Oregon – Portland
Clinic, Providence Medical Group, and Virginia Garcia Clinic. She is currently
on track to become an Advanced Practice Pharmacist, allowing her to have
her own panel of patients, which was one of the main reasons why Chamberlain
chose this new role.
“I missed the daily contact with patients,” said Chamberlain.
“My very first patient was having a hard time managing her medications
for Alzheimer’s, taking 15 different medications. We identified
two that were actually making her symptoms worse, discontinued them and
greatly reduced the overall number of medications she had to take. Both
the patient and spouse left my office very emotional because they were
so relieved that I was able to use my training and experience to help
take care of them.”
The potential for a single clinical pharmacist to make significant impacts
in patient health and assist in medication management is not lost on rural
care providers in communities like Humboldt County. Recent data from St.
Joseph Hospital suggests that only 30% of patients seen in the Emergency
Department are able to accurately detail the medications and strengths
they are prescribed.
While this role is new for Humboldt County, it is considered a proven best
practice for over 15 years in other areas of the country, such as the
Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA and Portland, OR even feature primary care
clinics operated exclusively by clinical pharmacists working with a medical
director. Metropolitan areas throughout the West Coast (CA, WA, OR) are
now realizing a surplus of highly trained clinical pharmacists while simultaneously
experiencing a shortage of primary care providers. All three states have
drafted legislation to expand the role of clinical pharmacists and encourage
the integration of highly trained clinical pharmacists into primary care.
SJH-HC is hopeful to further expand the role to other progressive primary
care organizations located in Humboldt County such as Open Door. Additionally,
SJH-HC has embarked on a relationship with pharmacy schools at Oregon
State University and Washington State University to provide a robust pipeline
of pharmacy students to intern in Humboldt County.
About St. Joseph, Health Humboldt County
St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County (SJHS-HC) is committed to meeting the
highest standards in health care delivery while ministering to the needs
of the whole person – body, mind and spirit. This commitment to
the people of the North Coast is expressed in the St. Joseph Health System's
four core values -
Dignity, Service, Excellence, and Justice. The health care ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange began
in Humboldt County during the flu epidemic of 1918. The Sisters opened
the first St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka in 1920 and committed to continually
improving the health and quality of life of the people served. This commitment
continues today and has been further defined by the vision of the SJHS-HC
- to bring people together to provide compassionate care, promote health
improvement, and create healthy communities.