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Putting The Pharmacist In The Exam Room
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URI College of Pharmacy

Kathleen Melbourne is a pharmacist, but she doesn't fill prescriptions and she doesn't work at a pharmacy.  Kathy is a clinical pharmacist, which means she works at Coastal Medical -- side by side with physicians and eye to eye with patients.

"We developed this program to really capitalize on getting that pharmacist in the position where they're making a difference in patient care and that's what really satisfies me at the end of the day," says Kathleen.

Getting pharmacists into a clinical setting is a trend people like Kathleen and Dr. Mark Jacobs would like to see grow.  One way they're doing that is by collaborating with the URI College of Pharmacy.  Here at Coastal Medical, students get a unique look at their future profession.

"We really encourage students to think outside the box, to do things that normally wouldn't be expected of a pharmacist, because they're talented, they're trained and they're motivated," says Kathleen.

The main goal here is helping patients.  Some people with chronic illnesses can be on as many as 15 medications at a time which both physicans and pharmacists agree can be confusing and sometimes dangerous for a patient who's not properly advised about their drug therapy.

"This is a way for us to not only deliver better care, but also to prevent complications that might cause harmful effects," says Coastal Medical physicain Dr. Mark Jacobs.

In fact $177 billion is spent each year on drug-related complications.  It's a price tag that people here believe can be cut dramatically, aimply by adding a pharmacist to the exam room.

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