At the Pharmacy U conference in Toronto in February, panellists Chris Juozaitis and Eric Kostiuk described what it was like to work in an innovative pharmacy setting that is truly improving patient outcomes.
by Dayle Acorn
At Howe Sound Pharmacy in Gibsons, B.C., patients literally sit down with pharmacists in a private space to review their medications and health history before their prescriptions are filled. As a recent pharmacy graduate, Eric noted that this type of environment is allowing pharmacists to work “at the top of their scope.”
Chris’s business partner John Shaske first introduced this pharmacy setup at Howe Sound five years ago. Researchers from the University of B.C. then conducted a study at the pharmacy to look at the impact of these pharmacist interventions. The positive results provide further credence to the fact that this pharmacy model can save healthcare dollars while providing reimbursement for services.
Funded through the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy’s Innovation Grant, the PhINDMORE (Pharmacist Innovative Drug therapy Management Outcomes, Resource use and Economics) study was the first time pharmacist interventions were being documented and analyzed in a community pharmacy setting in this way. Between 2012-2014, researchers looked at how interventions by pharmacists during medication management (MM) services had impacted healthcare utilization on some 2,700 patients.
Pharmacists performed 4,019 MM services and for each encounter, they recorded drug therapy problems and the actions taken to resolve them. The researchers then analyzed the outcomes discovering that almost half of patients needed additional therapies. Pharmacists took action by offering drug, device or chronic disease education, as well as by initiating an OTC, adjusting a prescription or referring back to a doctor. These pharmacist interventions saved 2,505 patients from having to see their doctor and another 23 from ending up in hospital; 228 were referred back to a physician.
As well as improving patient outcomes, pharmacy service models like Howe Sound’s make sustainable business sense—and people are taking notice. Shaske has consulted with several other pharmacies in B.C. who were interested in adopting a similar model and says there is ongoing interest from pharmacy owners in other provinces too.
At the Foundation, we believe research initiatives like the PhINDMORE study are imperative in pushing the profession forward, especially if we want to see governments recognize the full potential of pharmacists and continue to fund pharmacy services. There’s nothing more powerful to stakeholders than concrete data to prove that a pharmacy service or practice model is having a positive impact. It’s the reason we’ve invested more than $750,000 in pharmacy practice research in the last 10 years and why we continue to support research initiatives across the country.
I encourage you to go our website (www.cfpnet.ca) to read more about the research initiatives we’ve funded over the past decade and to learn more about potential funding opportunities for your own research endeavors.
Dayle Acorn is Executive Director of the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy (www.cfpnet.ca), a registered charity dedicated to supporting innovation and leadership to advance the profession of pharmacy.