3.5. Communications, Relationships, and Collaborations Despite the recent developments in

pharmacy practice and increasing service

provision by pharmacists, there still

appears to be an overall unawareness of

the potential role for community pharmacy

within the healthcare system. Satisfaction

and trust surveys are often favourable to

community pharmacists, who are highly

regarded by the public, but expectations

regarding the type and content of services

that the pharmacist can offer are often low.

This lack of knowledge is transversal to

governments, societies and individual

patients that could benefit from the added-

value services.

In addition, inter-professional collaboration

is said to be a key feature of an optimally

designed healthcare system. The benefits of

inter-professional collaboration between

community pharmacists and physicians

have been demonstrated by empirical

research, and the literature suggests that it

contributes to the avoidance of errors and

delays in workflow, improves patients

outcomes, and decreases health costs

related to ineffective and unsafe medication

use 32-36.

Interprofessional collaboration has been

advocated by the World Health Organisation

in influential policy papers, such as the

Alma-Ata declaration, and by several

professional bodies, including FIP and the

World Medical Association (WMA)37-40.

In spite of these benefits and institutional

support, inter-professional collaboration

remains limited across organisational

boundaries and various levels of care with

the literature offering limited examples of

sustained inter-professional collaboration

between community pharmacists and

physicians. Some of the most commonly

cited are pharmacotherapy consultations in

the Netherlands, quality circles in

Switzerland, Home Medicines Reviews in

Australia, and Collaborative Practice

Agreements in the United States. In most

countries, however, the physician-

pharmacist working relationship is still in a

very early stage of development.