Clinical pharmacy is the area of pharmacy in which pharmacists provide patient care that optimizes the use of medication in an effort to promote health, wellness, and disease prevention. Clinical pharmacists have cared for patients in all health-care settings, but when pharmacy specialties began to arise, clinical pharmacists began working mostly in hospitals and clinics.
Clinical pharmacists have received comprehensive training in the therapeutic uses of medications. A clinical pharmacist provides evaluations of the use of medications to both patients and physicians. These evaluations typically include an assessment of the safety, appropriateness, and cost-effectiveness of the medication.
While clinical pharmacists were originally only found in hospital and clinic settings, today individuals can consult with clinical pharmacists even through information hotlines. These services can review one’s medications to help prevent medication errors.
In some states, clinical pharmacists, in association with a physician, are able to write prescriptions for patients. As such, these pharmacists must be able to work autonomously and as part of a collaborative group.
In addition to having an in-depth knowledge of constantly evolving pharmaceuticals, clinical pharmacists should also be familiar with non-traditional forms of treatment. Patients using herbal supplements can have drug interactions with their prescription medications. It is the responsibility of the clinical pharmacist to track these potential drug interactions and, ultimately, to try to prevent them from occurring.
Clinical pharmacy is one of many pharmacy areas in which one can practice. Clinical pharmacy requires only that one has graduated from one of the many pharmacy schools n the U.S., and it does not require additional residencies or certifications.