Nav: Home

Pharmacy in the 21st century: Transformational change ahead

February 05, 2019

Medications improve health and saves lives, but they are not risk-free. The modern pharmacist is largely responsible for helping patients navigate an increasingly complex and costly health care system, particularly with respect to medications. And with significant changes in population demographics, technology, and the upsurge in the use of health services across the sector, a group of pharmacist-researchers from the Ontario Pharmacy Evidence Network is calling for the profession to make fundamental changes to effectively and safely meet society's health care needs.

An overview of these recommendations is captured in a peer-reviewed paper published earlier this month in the Canadian Pharmacists Journal (CPJ/RPC).

"Patients, families and other health care providers rely on pharmacists to support safe and effective medication use and we need to think seriously about how we can shift and adapt our practice to meet changing health care trends," says lead author Lisa Dolovich, professor at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto. "We feel that transformational change in the profession of pharmacy is essential in all practice settings including community, hospital, primary care or other organizations."

Watch Video: The Future of Pharmacy

For example, in the future, dispensing medication may not be a significant component of on-site pharmacy services, the authors write. Recognizing that dispensing and front-store products are increasingly managed by off-site storage and delivery, pharmacies should look to repurpose physical layout and optimize workflow processes to better support patient assessment and communication, including the use of eHealth technology, private rooms and interprofessional teamwork.

"This type of organizational-level change will better support pharmacists' ability to be integrated into a patient's overall care plan, more effectively work with other primary care providers and open opportunities for pharmacists to expand disease monitoring and prevention services," says Nancy Waite, professor and associate director of clinical education at University of Waterloo's School of Pharmacy.

Pharmacists, particularly those who work in the community, are also well positioned to support better integration of patient care across the health care system. But this requires better use of technology to collaborate with other care providers and with pharmacists in other care settings, the authors write. In the future, pharmacists should be able to easily triage or refer patients to other health and community organizations and also have a system in place to receive referrals. Pharmacists should have access to and interpret clinical information from other services including lab and diagnostic test results.

The authors note that in many recent policy discussions about the future direction of health care services, the voice of pharmacists has been largely absent. This is surprising given total drug spending in Canada was estimated to be $39.8 billion in 2017 and made up the second largest share of health care expenditures.

"Pharmacists are an under-utilized resource in health care and we see opportunities for pharmacists to really become a patient's partner in preventing and managing illness, improving transitions between different levels of care, as well as their medication use," says Dolovich. "There is much more pharmacists can do to help build an integrated care system that is centred on individual patients' needs, within their community, and throughout every stage of life."
-end-
The research was supported by the Ontario College of Pharmacists and Ontario Pharmacy Evidence Network. The paper published in CPJ is a condensed and adapted version of a White Paper prepared by the Ontario Pharmacy Evidence Network (OPEN) at the request of the Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP) for the purpose of stimulating a discussion within the profession

University of Toronto - Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy

Related Health Care Articles:

Care management program reduced health care costs in Partners Pioneer ACO
Pesearchers at Partners HealthCare published a study showing that Partners Pioneer ACO not only reduces spending growth, but does this by reducing avoidable hospitalizations for patients with elevated but modifiable risks.
Health care leaders predict patients will lose under President Trump's health care plans
According to a newly released NEJM Catalyst Insights Report, health care executives and industry insiders expect patients -- more than any other stakeholder -- to be the big losers of any comprehensive health care plan from the Trump administration.
The Lancet: The weaponisation of health care: Using people's need for health care as a weapon of war over six years of Syrian conflict
Marking six years since the start of the Syrian conflict (15 March), a study in The Lancet provides new estimates for the number of medical personnel killed: 814 from March 2011 to February 2017.
In the January Health Affairs: Brazil's primary health care expansion
The January issue of Health Affairs includes a study that explores a much-discussed issue in global health: the role of governance in improving health, which is widely recognized as necessary but is difficult to tie to actual outcomes.
Advocacy and community health care models complement research and clinical care
Global lung cancer researchers and patient advocates today emphasized that new models of delivering care and communicating about cancer care play an important role in the fight against lung cancer.
About 1 million Texans gained health care coverage due to Affordable Care Act
Texas has experienced a roughly 6 percentage-point increase in health insurance coverage from the Affordable Care Act, according to new research by experts at Rice University and the Episcopal Health Foundation.
In India, training informal health-care providers improved quality of care
Training informal health-care providers in India improved the quality of health care they offered to patients in rural regions, a new study reports.
Affordable Care Act has improved access to health care, but disparities persist
The Affordable Care Act has substantially decreased the number of uninsured Americans and improved access to health care, though insurance affordability and disparities by geography, race/ethnicity, and income persist.
Integrated team-based care shows potential for improving health care quality, use and costs
Among adults enrolled in an integrated health care system, receipt of primary care at integrated team-based care practices compared with traditional practice management practices was associated with higher rates of some measures of quality of care, lower rates for some measures of acute care utilization, and lower actual payments received by the delivery system, according to a study appearing in the Aug.
Study finds quality of care in VA health care system compares well to other settings
The quality of health care provided to US military veterans in Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities compares favorably with the treatment and services delivered outside the VA.

Related Health Care Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...