Supporting Innovation in Pharmacy for a Healthier Canada

INNOVATION FUND GRANT: holistic healthcare

Innovation Fund recipient Debbie Kelly  

NOVEMBER 2020 - There is ample evidence showing the benefits of pharmacists in managing medical conditions such as hypertension and urinary tract infections. CFP’s 2020 Innovation Fund grant recipient Debbie Kelly believes pharmacists can have an even bigger impact by taking a holistic approach to medication management using comprehensive medication assessments (CMAs).

“A holistic approach is necessary to avoid causing a cascade effect, whereby a change in medication to optimize one issue contributes to exacerbating another issue,” says Kelly, who is an associate professor at Memorial University’s School of Pharmacy in Newfoundland.

With the help of funding from CFP, she and her team will assess the impact of holistic, comprehensive medication assessments by pharmacists on important patient outcomes.

Throughout the study, which is expected to run over 18 months, pharmacists will work with patients who feel overburdened with their medications to establish goals and measure outcomes important to them, such as improved quality of life.

“Pharmacists will make recommendations to optimize each of the patient’s medical conditions as well as how to deprescribe potentially inappropriate medications,” says Kelly. “[They’ll] work collaboratively with physicians and patients to provide support when medication changes are made, and in follow-up to ensure they are tolerating medication changes and are having the intended effect.”

The research team will be using a series of validated tools to measure patient outcomes before and after the intervention, and to assess their satisfaction with the care received.  The primary outcome will measure the impact of CMAs on medication-related burden.

Kelly says this study will help fill a gap in current evidence regarding the impact pharmacists can have on improving outcomes for patients in the community with complex medication needs. The hope is that in turn, these study results can be used to advocate for expansion and remuneration of pharmacist services.

“I think the objective of measuring the results of comprehensive medication assessments is very important for the profession,” said one of the Innovation Fund judges. “The results of this research would be very meaningful.”

Kelly and her team are one of two Innovation Fund grant recipients for 2020.