Supporting Innovation in Pharmacy for a Healthier Canada

Research affects change in practice


For more than a decade, the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy has been funding good ideas around pharmacy-related research as part of its Innovation Fund Grant. In 2018 alone, four award winners received a total of $107,500 to study pharmacists’ impact in various practice settings, from vaccine adherence rates to opioids stewardship. 

Many of those researchers awarded grants from the Foundation have gone on to glean favourable statistics that are proving pharmacists’ worth not only in treating specific health conditions, but in providing optimal patient care in the community setting. On top of that, these positive results are having far-reaching effects for the profession.

Sherilyn Houle, a 2015 grant recipient and an Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo, is one example. She led a research team to investigate the effectiveness of an Alberta-based, pharmacist-managed travel medicine clinic under expanded scope of practice. The results showed that 94% of patients were satisfied with the service and 80% accepted the vaccines proposed by the pharmacist. Find more details here

Houle is now working on an Alberta study funded by ISTM to look at adherence trends to multiple-dose travel vaccine regimes with pharmacists as immunizers.

Another research project funded by CFP called the Catalyst Study, showed that community pharmacists can have a vital role in depresribing. Led by pharmacist Barbara Farrell of the Bruyère Institute in Ottawa, the pilot program revealed that pharmacists equipped with training and resources were able to effectively integrate the use of deprescribing guidelines at four different pharmacies. Data generated from the study helped to populate a business model template that can be used to develop an in-depth business plan for deprescribing in community pharmacies. The Bruyère Deprescribing Guidelines Research Team also developed a series of YouTube videos that have been viewed by people in more than 97 countries. 

Going forward, Farrell and her team will be working with the Ontario government to look at the resources necessary for the viable implementation of deprescribing initiatives in community pharmacies and other practice settings. 

“We’re excited to do our part in helping researchers like these actualize their vision for a truly expanded role for pharmacists in the future,” says CFP’s Executive Director Dayle Acorn. “Eventually all these statistics and positive measures will be too numerous for governments to ignore.”

* This was adapted from an article appearing in RxPress, published by the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association.