Community pharmacists can draw upon experts at Banting & Best Diabetes Centre (BBDC) to better support patients with diabetes—particularly those with complex needs.
Almost 800 pharmacists have joined BBDC’s Diabetes Pharmacists Network, an online community that offers learnings from both the experts at the Centre and in the form of peer-to-peer exchange with other network members. The network is open to all Canadian pharmacists and pharmacy students, and there is no cost to join. The majority of members are staff community pharmacists, notes Lori MacCallum, Program Director at BBDC. Some are Certified Diabetes Educators, but most are not, and that’s not a requirement for joining.
Learnings revolve around patient cases “where the answers are not always black and white, and aren’t easily found in the clinical guidelines,” says MacCallum. For example, one of the learning modules addresses individualizing drug therapy for patients with diabetes and chronic kidney disease.
Each module includes a 20- to 30-minute educational video, broken down into easy-to-navigate chapters, presented by one of BBDC’s diabetes experts. Participants can also get an immediate sense of pharmacists’ current practice behaviours by viewing aggregate results to questions posed in the module. Members can post comments in the discussion area, and access peer-reviewed articles and patient education tools in the toolbox area.
“Evaluation results have been extremely positive, with almost everyone saying they’ve learned something new, that they’ve gained confidence or received validation that they’re doing the right thing,” says MacCallum. Feedback is prospective as well. “We ask for members’ feedback on future cases and what questions they’d like to see answered.”
Other healthcare providers are also stepping forward. For example, a physician approached BBDC about developing a module on how pharmacists can provide preconception counseling for women with diabetes. It will be released in the fall.
BBDC is also using feedback and analytics to help determine what new practical tools can be developed outside of the network. “We can use the interactive learning to help guide practice change. That is the whole point,” states MacCallum. To that end, the BBDC also hopes that the network will eventually become a resource for practice sites interested in participating in research projects.
Such tools and research projects will build upon the success of BBDC’s Guidebook for Pharmacists on Diabetes Management, which focuses on the role of the community pharmacist in diabetes management. More than 6,000 copies have been distributed since its launch in September 2014 (June 2015 for the French edition). The guidebook can be purchased in print or online formats.