Georgia community pharmacies and clinics: An evaluation of health outcomes and care access

Laura E. Ramirez, Jae H. Joe, Brittny Nutt, Alaina Lewis, Rebecca H. Stone, Jayani Jayawardhana, Meagan Duever, Blake R. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Care access remains a major social determinant of health. Safety net clinics may not be numerically sufficient to meet the health care demand for vulnerable populations. Community pharmacists remain a trusted health care provider and serve as first-line care access points. To date, Georgia care access points by safety net clinics and community pharmacies have not been compared. Objectives: This study sought to evaluate care access across Georgia. County health outcomes and health factor rankings were compared with mortality prevalence of respiratory disease, diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, and a composite of ambulatory care sensitive conditions emergency department (ER) utilization and hospital discharge. In addition, this study sought to determine whether care access points improve if community pharmacies were to provide primary care services. Design and Outcome Measures: Geographic information systems mapping was used to locate safety net clinics and community pharmacies. Care access difference was analyzed using a 2-sample t test and health outcomes and rankings were evaluated using ordinary least square regression analysis. Results: A significant difference in care access points was found between safety net clinics and community pharmacies across the state of Georgia (P < 0.05). Mortality prevalence for respiratory disease (P < 0.01), diabetes mellitus (P < 0.1), kidney disease (P < 0.05), ER utilization (P < 0.01), and hospital discharge (P < 0.01) was lower in counties in the top 50% than the bottom 50% health outcome ranking and health factor ranking. Approximately 95% of counties (n = 151) would experience more than a 50% increase in primary care access points by way of community pharmacies. Conclusion: Community pharmacies are well positioned to address primary care disease states, reduce health care resource strain, and decrease preventable health care resource utilization. Leveraging pharmacists to provide primary care services can address care access issues and may improve care quality and reduce preventable hospitalizations and ER utilization in Georgia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1706-1714.e3
JournalJournal of the American Pharmacists Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Pharmacists Association®

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (nursing)
  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology


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