So, after a short sabbatical from writing, it is time once again to think about the tough issues facing advancing our profession.

Today, somehow, I began thinking about medical information release forms. I know, not very stimulating thoughts!

But wait …

Why, when we are providing medication services to patients (comprehensive medication reviews, diabetes management services, hypertension management services) to help them live longer and healthier and with less medication related complications, do we need to specifically obtain permission to access information that would help us take better care of our patients?

When I work in a hospital setting, it is the standard of care for other hospitals, clinics, or pharmacies to graciously share relevant medical information to assist in caring for the patient.

When I work in community pharmacies, we graciously provide medication use information to physicians without any extra hassle to help them take better care of our patients.

Yet, when as pharmacists we request information for use in our patient care services, oftentimes, other healthcare practitioners refuse to provide that information or demand obtaining consent for each piece of information.

Under HIPPA, it is not a disclosure of protected health information to provide medically necessary information to another healthcare provider involved in the care of the patient.

So why then are we treated differently as pharmacists?

Are we viewed as health care providers? How can we change our image?

When setting up new cognitive pharmacy services, should we be practical and take this image into account, or stick to the principle that we are healthcare providers and design our services around the bi-directional sharing of information?

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