Clinical Pharmacist Services in the Emergency Department

Revised January 2021

Originally approved June 2015


The emergency department (ED) is a complex environment presenting unique challenges for medication selection, dosing, administration, and monitoring. In particular,caring for high-risk populations such as the critically ill, geriatric patients, pediatric patients, those with limited healthcare access, and those with multiple comorbidities often requires the use of high-risk medications and the need for time-sensitive medication decisions.

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) believes that pharmacists serve a critical role in ensuring efficient, safe, and effective medication use in the ED and advocates for health systems to support dedicated roles for pharmacists within the ED. The emergency medicine pharmacist should serve as a well-integrated member of the ED multidisciplinary team who actively participates in patient care decisions including resuscitations, transitions of care, and medication reconciliation to optimize pharmacotherapy for ED patients. The exact delivery method for these services can vary among institution depending on size, financial resources, presence of academic programs, and other factors, but ACEP believes institutions should work toward a goal of 24/7 ED pharmacist coverage.

ACEP encourages emergency medicine rotations for pharmacy residents and clinical research regarding pharmacist access in the ED.

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