NOVEMBER 2020 – With more and more healthcare services going virtual during COVID-19, the pharmacy team at Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre’s out-patient pharmacy has been looking to virtual care to ensure cancer patients get the same level of medication management they did prior to the pandemic. The question, is it working for every patient?
“Telepharmacy to deliver patient counseling and clinical services has been practised for some time now, however, it’s use in day-to-day practice is limited,” says this year’s Innovation Fund grant recipient Carlo DeAngelis, Clinician Scientist, Oncology Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy at Sunnybrook and the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy in Toronto. “This is in part due to concern over which patients are appropriate candidates for virtual care.”
With funding from the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy, DeAngelis and his team will evaluate the impact of virtual clinical pharmacy services (vCPS) on a patient’s knowledge, skill and confidence in managing their health, as well as their satisfaction with the information provided. “To our knowledge this is one of the few attempts to quantify the patient experience from virtually delivered pharmacist counseling services.”
Research results are expected to help determine which patients are the best candidates for virtual service delivery. “The pandemic is a unique opportunity to evaluate vCPS in a ‘real world’ setting and develop an evidence-based framework to implement vCPS in the future,” says DeAngelis. “This grant will allow us to improve medication-related interactions with patients and we hope that the framework will also serve to guide other healthcare disciplines delivering virtual care.”
A member of the Innovation Fund review committee noted that this was very relevant research initiative and could lead to other hospitals following Sunnybrook’s lead. “This may be the future of hospital follow-up and I believe pharmacists should be part of the leading team.”