“Ambulatory Care” refers to the providers you see for non-emergency medical care. An ambulatory care pharmacist works in the same clinics as your provider to offer care to patients. This role is different from the pharmacists working to fill your prescriptions in the pharmacy.
What do these ambulatory care pharmacists do?
They work alongside other providers such as physicians, NPs, and PAs to help manage a range of medical conditions.
Depending on the clinic, they may manage blood thinner medications (like Warfarin), diabetes, high blood pressure, or any number of other long-term conditions.
They work under something called a Collaborative Practice Agreement that allows them to order labs and add, remove and change medications.
Aside from our understanding of medications, one of the key differences that you’ll notice during a visit with an ambulatory care pharmacist is education. They often have the privilege of spending an entire visit addressing just one health concern. This means they have more time to dive in and answer your questions, work through concerns, and ensure you understand the medications you’re taking. They want to equip you with all the tools you need to care for your health, both with medicine and non-medicine strategies.
What are ambulatory care pharmacists unable to do?
A pharmacist will not diagnose any conditions. They can answer your questions and point you towards the appropriate provider who can investigate your concerns further.
They cannot refill all your medications – only the ones related to the condition(s) that your provider referred you for.
At CRMG, these pharmacists are not associated with a retail pharmacy and cannot dispense your prescriptions to you. You will still need to go to another pharmacy for your medicines.
How do they interact with the rest of my healthcare team?
Ambulatory care pharmacists are a part of your healthcare team. This means they often reach out to other members of your team and ensure they always make decisions that fit into your overall health goals.
If they have questions or concerns, they will communicate with other members of your team. This is easy to do since they work in the same clinic as your provider. Sometimes, the members of your team will reach out to them to ask questions about medications too.
Most pharmacists have a doctorate degree and frequently an additional one to two years of residency training. Often these pharmacists seek additional board certifications, which is done by rigorous testing that requires additional education on top of the amount of continuing education required to maintain their pharmacist’s license.