Projects involving Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) students

Two research projects will soon be underway in primary care and community pharmacies around the Brisbane area and involve both community pharmacists and Quality Use Medicines (QUM) Pharmacy Students from The University of Queensland.

Piloting the DEPICT (Describing and Evaluating community Pharmacy practice to Improve patients’ Care and Treatment) survey

The purpose of DEPICT is to systematically capture the usual activities Australian community pharmacists engage in during their work day or about their encounters with patients and other healthcare professionals. The community pharmacy data gathered would be a valuable source of regional and national information to be used in pharmacy practice research that in turn informs future pharmacy practice and policy changes. (This has been done in Australian GP practices for about 18 years where professional activities of primary care physicians in Australia has been monitored through the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) program.)

Prior to initiating a data collection program, a pilot will be conducted to assess the newly developed tool that captures pharmacists’ typical activities, patient encounters, and interactions with other healthcare professionals. We are piloting the DEPICT tool with selected groups of community pharmacists to find out how well the tool captures the pharmacists’ activities as well as to discover the tool’s  ease of use, time to complete  and identify issues with its use that require revision for future administration.

Self-reported medication taking behaviours in patients with diabetes, asthma and dyslipidaemia: a longitudinal study

This is an observational study that will follow patients with diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure over two years to better understand how people take their regular medication for their conditions, and to identify what factors influence how people take these medicines. This is important because medication non-adherence has been associated with poor health outcomes for patients and increased costs to healthcare systems.

There are many reasons people might not take their regular medicines. They might choose not to take the medicine - they might forget when to take it, they might think their medicine is not necessary, or they might have concerns about bad effects of the medicine. As well, adherence rates have been reported to vary greatly depending on patients’ conditions. Participating patients will complete a series of questionnaires that examine their medication taking behaviours every six months. In addition, patient medication use will be calculated from their prescription refill data for the identical time periods.

We want to know how self-reported patients’ medication taking behaviour changes over time and whether their beliefs towards medicines and illness can predict these changes. We also want to investigate the correlation between self-reported medication taking behaviour with patients’ medication use derived from prescription refill data. To observe changes over time, patients will be followed for two years after enrolment.

2017 Pharmacist in GP National Survey Project

The integration of pharmacists working within medical centres in Australia continues to evolve and since our initial survey of practice pharmacists in 2013 there have been significant changes in the environment namely the potential numbers of pharmacists working in this space, what they are doing, how they are remunerated, and also the way in which this model of practice is supported (e.g. the Primary Health Networks (PHNs)).

The aim of this project is to determine the current type and scope of pharmacist services (non-dispensing) which are presently being provided within a medical centre setting.

REMAIN HOME (Reducing Medical Admissions into Hospital through Optimising Medicines) project

The REMAIN HOME (Reducing Medical Admissions into Hospital through Optimising Medicines) project is investigating whether a clinical pharmacist integrated into the general practice team collaborating with GPs and other health professionals can reduce readmission to hospital.

Medications account for more than 230,000 admissions to Australian hospitals each year with an estimated cost of $1.2 billion. The transition of care for patients with chronic and complex diseases from the hospital to the community setting is a critical time with an increased risk of medication misadventure and re-hospitalisation.

A clinical pharmacist integrated into the general practice team collaborating with GPs and other health professionals has the potential to reduce the occurrence of unplanned hospital readmissions due to medication misadventure and increase the likelihood of the patient receiving the intended treatment plan recommended by the hospital team.

The project is funded by the HCF Research Foundation, Brisbane South PHN and Brisbane North PHN.