Supporting Innovation in Pharmacy for a Healthier Canada

How are pharmacy services measuring up?

OCTOBER 2018 - Alberta’s Pharmacy Services Framework (PSF) is likely the most comprehensive compensation models for pharmacist services in the country. So it was fitting that researchers Christine Hughes, Terri Schindel and Rene Breault set out to determine exactly how Alberta pharmacists are providing care under this framework, and how patients are experiencing care planning services in the “real world.”

With funding from the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy and the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA), the investigators recruited four different cases, or community pharmacies, in the province and collected data over 12 months per site. Over the course of 83 interviews and 94 hours of observation, they explored the value of pharmacy services to patients, pharmacists, other healthcare providers and policy makers.

Their results showed that patients were generally unaware of care planning services prior to being approached by a pharmacist, however, the perception of value thereafter was related to understanding pharmacists’ expanding roles in primary health care. Not only did the patients interviewed appreciate having immediate access to services, they valued the sharing of health information that occurred. One patient said he’d been waiting more than 15 months to see a specialist, and that the pharmacist was able provide more information in just five minutes than he’d ever received from the specialist. With respect to pharmacists’ collaboration with other healthcare providers, another noted that “everybody isn’t out in the dark…it seems it’s better that way now than it was before.”

Interviewed healthcare providers and other stakeholders, including policy makers, noted similar perceptions of the value of care planning services. “I think this research complements other work looking at medication management services in Canada. It really helps us understand patient perceptions of value, which is useful when considering expansion of these services,” says Hughes, Professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton. “Our results are being used by other researchers in Alberta to further explore patient experiences with care planning.”

In September, the team presented study results at the International Pharmaceutical Federation’s 2018 World Congress and RxA’s 2018 Professional Development conference.