Supporting Innovation in Pharmacy for a Healthier Canada

Gathering more proof of value

MAY 2018 - From urinary tract infections to diabetes care to home-based medication reviews and travel vaccines, researchers funded by the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy’s Innovation Fund share one thing in common: to demonstrate, and help fulfill, pharmacists’ largely untapped potential as primary healthcare providers. Four grant recipients—Dr.  Ross Tsuyuki, Dr. Lori MacCallum, Dr. Sherilyn Houle and John Papastergiou—presented updates at this year’s annual Innovation Showcase.

Led by Dr. Tsuyuki, RxOUTMAP is the first large-scale study of pharmacist-managed urinary tract infections (UTIs) in Canada, and will assess and quantify the impact of pharmacists prescribing for patients with UTIs. “There are many problems when it comes to antibiotics and UTIs,” said Dr. Tsuyuki, via video stream. “Not only are they overprescribed…but when they are chosen they’re often the wrong type and for the wrong duration—and access to care is a big issue.”

The study, also funded by the New Brunswick Pharmacists Association, involved 29 pharmacists in New Brunswick who had enrolled some 750 patients. “The outcomes we are reporting on include: clinical cure rates at two weeks, patient satisfaction and appropriateness of antibiotic choice and duration,” said Dr. Tsuyuki.

Final study results will be presented in June at the Canadian Pharmacists Association annual conference in Fredericton, NB. 

John_PapastergiouLori_MacCallum John Papastergiou and Lori MacCallum were among those who presented their latest research.

2014 grant recipient and Toronto-based pharmacist John Papastergiou told audience members that his study around home-based medication reviews to non-homebound patients revealed some significant gaps in care. For example, pharmacists identified an average of 2.77 drug therapy problems per patient, and 67% of reviews required medication removal due to expired drugs or lapsed indications. “The findings of this study highlight the very concerning medication-related issues faced by some of our most vulnerable patient populations,” he said. “Lack of adherence, medication hoarding and inappropriate drug use are often only identified during home visits.” The high frequency of issues suggests many patients could benefit from a structured pharmacist-directed home visit. Full study results are pending publication.

Dr. MacCallum is leading an Ontario study on pharmacists’ follow-ups after they’ve conducted initial MedsCheck medication reviews for people with diabetes. Her team has completed qualitative interviews and pilot testing of a survey, which will now be rolled out to pharmacists. The survey will assess the experiences, opinions and attitudes of pharmacists regarding follow-up. “Then we can work with pharmacists to develop better strategies and solutions to improve follow-up,” she said.

Here is more information on Dr. Houle's research into Patient Outcomes in Travel Medecine.