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Learning Objectives

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After completing this chapter, the reader will be able to

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  • Describe the importance of drug information provided by the health care professional in the ambulatory care setting.

  • Discuss the importance of access to up-to-date formulary information in the provision of care in the ambulatory setting.

  • Identify sources with links to full-text evidence-based practice guidelines.

  • Describe desired characteristics of drug information resources specific to the ambulatory environment.

  • Describe reputable drug information sources geared toward the health care professional that are also useful in providing drug information to patients.

  • List ways that practitioners may address concerns regarding access to information.

  • Discuss importance of providing drug information regarding disposal of unused, unwanted, or expired medications and immunizations.

  • Identify resources providing quality-assurance indicators for optimal provision of ambulatory care.

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Key Concepts

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  1. The clinician in the ambulatory care setting routinely utilizes multiple drug information skills on a daily basis to not only provide drug information to patients and other health care providers, but to function competently and efficiently within this practice setting.

  2. The ambulatory care practitioner is the person with the greatest opportunity to fill the role of medication information provider and interpreter to the lay public.

  3. Knowledge of formulary status of medications is only one part of the prescription decision-making process. Whenever they exist, evidence-based clinical practice guidelines should guide prescriptive decision making.

  4. Ambulatory practitioners have the responsibility to remain up-to-date regarding current practice guidelines.

  5. Increasingly more medical literature, including tertiary references, is being provided in the electronic or Internet-based format, and such databases are attractive to utilize in ambulatory care for multiple reasons.

  6. Ambulatory care clinicians bear a responsibility to educate patients on the proper disposal of unused and unwanted medications and should, therefore, be aware of pertinent sites for information.

  7. While ambulatory clinicians (in particular, pharmacists) typically recommend and/or dispense most medications, immunizations are medications that are administered in the ambulatory care setting. Those practitioners immunizing in this setting have the obligation to not only provide these services safely, but to serve as immediate sources of information (i.e., drug information) regarding the medications they are administering.

  8. Health care professionals involved in the provision of care in the ambulatory care setting should familiarize themselves with the pertinent established quality measures.

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Introduction

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This textbook covers a long list of drug information topics and skills, although not every clinician will use all of these skills on a daily basis. ❶ The clinician in the ambulatory care setting routinely utilizes multiple drug information skills on a daily basis to not only provide drug information to patients and other health care providers, but to function competently and efficiently within this practice setting.

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The ambulatory care practitioner is required to use a variety of drug information skills and resources during routine encounters with patients to provide information at a personalized and appropriate level. Before doing so, the practitioner ...

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