The evolution and assessment of pharmaceutical care: Structure, processes, and outcomes

Roger William Anderson, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The evolution of pharmaceutical care is identified through a complete review of the literature published in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, the sole comprehensive publication of institutional pharmacy practice. The evolution is categorized according to characteristics of structure (organizational structure, the role of the pharmacist), process (drug delivery systems, formulary management, acquiring drug products, methods to impact drug therapy decisions), and outcomes (cost of drug delivery, cost of drug acquisition and use, improved safety, improved health outcomes) recorded from the 1950s through the 1990s. While significant progress has been made in implementing basic drug distribution systems, levels of pharmacy involvement with direct patient care is still limited. A new practice framework suggests enhanced direct patient care involvement through increase in the efficiency and effectiveness of traditional pharmacy services. Recommendations advance internal and external organizational structure relationships that position pharmacists to fully use their unique skills and knowledge to impact drug therapy decisions and outcomes. Specific strategies facilitate expansion of the breadth and scope of each process component in order to expand the depth of integration of pharmacy and pharmaceutical care within the broad healthcare environment. Economic evaluation methods formally evaluate the impact of both operational and clinical interventions. Outcome measurements include specific recommendations and methods to increase efficiency of drug acquisition, emphasizing pharmacists' roles that impact physician prescribing decisions. Effectiveness measures include those that improve safety of drug distribution systems, decrease the potential of adverse drug therapy events, and demonstrate that pharmaceutical care can significantly contribute to improvement in overall health status. The implementation of the new framework is modeled on a case study at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. The implementation of several new drug distribution methods facilitated the redeployment of personnel from distributive functions to direct patient care activities with significant personnel and drug cost reduction. A cost-benefit analysis illustrates that framework process enhancements produced a benefit-to-cost ratio of 7.9. In addition, measures of effectiveness demonstrated significant levels of safety and enhanced drug therapy outcomes.

Subject Area

Pharmaceuticals|Public health|Health care

Recommended Citation

Anderson, Roger William, "The evolution and assessment of pharmaceutical care: Structure, processes, and outcomes" (1997). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9809535.