Supporting Innovation in Pharmacy for a Healthier Canada

Pharmacists' fit in travel medicine

OCTOBER 2018 - We now know Canadians are very willing to receive a pre-travel consultation and vaccinations from a pharmacist-managed travel clinic, and 94% were satisfied by the care received, thanks to a study conducted by Sherilyn Houle, Assistant Professor at the School of Pharmacy, University of Waterloo. And now that message is getting wider play.

Since the results of this CFP-funded study were published earlier this year in Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease Journal, Houle has been invited to share her findings with travel medicine practitioners from around the world at the 2019 conference of the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM). She is also working on an Alberta study funded by ISTM to look at trends in adherence to multiple-dose travel vaccine regimes with pharmacists as immunizers.

“Now that we have evidence that supports a role for pharmacists in providing travel services in a specialized setting, I am interested in examining how we can encourage and support community pharmacists to provide care for travellers,” says Houle. In fact, she is currently supervising a graduate student whose thesis aims to develop, validate and test a triage tool for pharmacists to quickly determine if a patient coming into the pharmacy for a travel-related need would benefit from a pre-travel consultation.

Furthermore, Houle points to the business benefits in providing travel medicines. At a consultation fee of $45-$60 coupled with vaccine administration fees and dispensing fees for oral and injectable prescriptions, she says a pharmacy could generate approximately $110-$130 per travel patient.