NOVEMBER 2017 - This year’s Innovation Grant winners will tackle high-dose opioid use, and the optimum role of pharmacists in diabetes follow up and urinary tract infection (UTI) management. The Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy awarded a record $137,606 to three Canadian pharmacist researchers, Dr. Feng Chang, Dr. Lori McCallum and Dr. Ross Tsuyuki, to pursue their studies. “Through this grant, we will be able to work together to test how we can use the patient-pharmacist interaction to improve understanding of opioid dosing and better support communications between pharmacists and prescribers,” says Chang, who is an associate professor at the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy.
Identifying at-risk patients
Given that opioid prescriptions have tripled in Canada since 2000, Dr. Chang and her team hope to prove that intervention by community pharmacies will result in not only more timely identification of opioid issues, but a greater awareness of high-dose opioid use. “We believe patients, pharmacists and physicians or other prescribers working together will yield the best outcomes when it comes to the safe and effective use of opioids,” she says.
Facilitating diabetes follow-ups
Dr. MacCallum will be using her grant to support research into strategies needed to encourage pharmacist routine follow up after an initial medication review in people with diabetes. While approximately half of Ontarians with diabetes have received a MedsCheck for Diabetes during the first four years of the program, only 4% of those under 66 years and 2.6% of those over 66 have received a billed follow-up appointment. “Follow-up is an essential step in delivering quality care and it is important we better understand the barriers and facilitators so we can implement strategies to allow us to better care for our patients,” she says. “This grant will allow us to continue to build on our previous research, which identified an opportunity for improved follow-up by pharmacists.”
Prescribing for UTIs
Dr. Tsuyuki says, along with funding from the New Brunswick Pharmacists Association, the CFP grant will help demonstrate the impact of pharmacist prescribing in patients with UTIs. The fact the study will have two components—with pharmacists who prescribe antibiotics or perform prescription adaptations or substitution—will allow for the assessment of multiple aspects of UTI management by pharmacists. “This is important for both patient care and pharmacy practice,” he says. “I would like to thank the CFP for supporting research on the impact of pharmacists’ advanced scope of practice on patient outcomes."
Find more on CFP's Innovation Fund Grant.