An Analysis Of How Collaboration Between Physicians And Pharmacists Might Facilitate Improved Healthcare In Nigeria
The relationship between healthcare professionals impacts the delivery of quality healthcare. Interprofessional collaboration among healthcare workers has been proven repeatedly to increase good clinical outcomes and cause patient satisfaction which is the goal of healthcare. The collaboration between physician and pharmacist is the most impactful of this interprofessional collaboration because physicians come in contact most with patients and as professionals have an in-depth knowledge of the pharmacology and therapeutic effects of medicines. Hence pharmacists can directly influence the health and wellbeing of patients. This research aimed to analyze how the collaboration between physicians and pharmacists might facilitate improved healthcare in Nigeria by seeking the opinion of physicians, pharmacists and patients, identifying factors that may hinder this collaboration and exploring ways of establishing and improving this relationship in a developing country like Nigeria. The methodology employed used a mixed-method questionnaire consisting of both qualitative and quantitative approaches with the aim of getting relevant results that are unbiased. Secondary research indicated that if this collaboration is established and enforced properly, it does facilitate improvement of healthcare. This research was undertaken to confirm or dispute this fact. To this end, 150 questionnaires was sent out to a cohort of respondents consisting of physicians, pharmacists and patients garnering an 80% response rate. The patients responded the most, followed by the pharmacists, then physicians. Community pharmacists showed the most responses confirming the finding from primary research that they are overlooked a lot but have the most interaction with patients. The results also showed that physicians trust pharmacists and acknowledge their contribution to quality healthcare delivery and will therefore welcome the relationship, patients also had more trust in their pharmacists, causing physicians to work with them. Consequently, the government in Nigeria can create accountable care organizations to bridge the gap of information access and confidentiality that hampers the relationship. Such an approach would likely involve the two main bodies governing both professions (the Nigerian Medical Association and the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria) so they can potentially introduce the study of this relationship into the modules of physicians and pharmacists’ education programs to ensure that graduates in these disciplines have an extensive knowledge of this collaboration and ultimately lead to improvement of healthcare in Nigeria.