PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-25 (582010)

Clipboard (0)
None

Related Articles

1.  Pharmacists’ Perceptions of Their Professional Role: Insights into Hospital Pharmacy Culture 
Background:
Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive impacts of pharmacists on patient outcomes. To capitalize on these positive impacts, hospital pharmacy organizations around the world are now calling on pharmacists to shift their focus from distribution of medications to patient outcomes. This new emphasis is consistent with the vision statement for the profession of pharmacy in Canada, as set out in the Blueprint for Pharmacy: “Optimal drug therapy outcomes for Canadians through patient-centred care”. Given the ambitious nature of this statement and these goals, it is essential to understand what pharmacists currently think of their practice.
Objective:
To conduct a qualitative and semiquantitative analysis of hospital pharmacists’ perceptions of their role in patient care.
Methods:
A researcher posing as a University of Alberta student who was studying how health professionals use language to describe what they do contacted the pharmacy departments of all hospitals in Alberta. The “top-of-mind” approach was used in asking hospital pharmacists 2 questions: (1) How many years have you been practising pharmacy? (2) In 3 or 4 words (or phrases), from your perspective could you please tell me, “What does a pharmacist do”? These techniques were used to minimize the impact of social desirability bias. Content analysis was used to categorize hospital pharmacists’ responses into 4 broad categories: patient-centred, drug-focused, drug distribution, and ambiguous.
Results:
A total of 103 phone calls were made to hospital pharmacies, and 85 pharmacists contacted in this way were willing to participate in the survey. Hospital pharmacists provided 333 individual responses to the question about their activities. Of these, 79 (23.7%) were patient-centred, 98 (29.4%) were drug-focused, and 82 (24.6%) were in the drug-distribution category. Ambiguous responses accounted for the remaining 74 (22.2%).
Conclusion:
Aspects of care categorized as other than patient-centred should not be construed as unimportant. However, the fact that they were reported in this survey more frequently than patient-centred aspects suggests that hospital pharmacists in Alberta may have not fully embraced the concept of patient-centred care as outlined in the Blueprint for Pharmacy.
PMCID: PMC3053190  PMID: 22479026
patient-centred; drug-focused; drug distribution; top-of-mind approach; hospital pharmacist; pharmacy culture; pratique axée sur le patient; pratique axée sur les médicaments; distribution des médicaments; analyse des réponses spontanées; pharmacien d’hôpital; culture de la pharmacie
2.  Interactions between Non-Physician Clinicians and Industry: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(11):e1001561.
In a systematic review of studies of interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry, Quinn Grundy and colleagues found that many of the issues identified for physicians' industry interactions exist for non-physician clinicians.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
With increasing restrictions placed on physician–industry interactions, industry marketing may target other health professionals. Recent health policy developments confer even greater importance on the decision making of non-physician clinicians. The purpose of this systematic review is to examine the types and implications of non-physician clinician–industry interactions in clinical practice.
Methods and Findings
We searched MEDLINE and Web of Science from January 1, 1946, through June 24, 2013, according to PRISMA guidelines. Non-physician clinicians eligible for inclusion were: Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, Physician Assistants, pharmacists, dieticians, and physical or occupational therapists; trainee samples were excluded. Fifteen studies met inclusion criteria. Data were synthesized qualitatively into eight outcome domains: nature and frequency of industry interactions; attitudes toward industry; perceived ethical acceptability of interactions; perceived marketing influence; perceived reliability of industry information; preparation for industry interactions; reactions to industry relations policy; and management of industry interactions. Non-physician clinicians reported interacting with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Clinicians across disciplines met with pharmaceutical representatives regularly and relied on them for practice information. Clinicians frequently received industry “information,” attended sponsored “education,” and acted as distributors for similar materials targeted at patients. Clinicians generally regarded this as an ethical use of industry resources, and felt they could detect “promotion” while benefiting from industry “information.” Free samples were among the most approved and common ways that clinicians interacted with industry. Included studies were observational and of varying methodological rigor; thus, these findings may not be generalizable. This review is, however, the first to our knowledge to provide a descriptive analysis of this literature.
Conclusions
Non-physician clinicians' generally positive attitudes toward industry interactions, despite their recognition of issues related to bias, suggest that industry interactions are normalized in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. Industry relations policy should address all disciplines and be implemented consistently in order to mitigate conflicts of interest and address such interactions' potential to affect patient care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Making and selling health care goods (including drugs and devices) and services is big business. To maximize the profits they make for their shareholders, companies involved in health care build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, organizing educational meetings, providing samples of their products, giving gifts, and holding sponsored events. These relationships help to keep physicians informed about new developments in health care but also create the potential for causing harm to patients and health care systems. These relationships may, for example, result in increased prescription rates of new, heavily marketed medications, which are often more expensive than their generic counterparts (similar unbranded drugs) and that are more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than long-established drugs. They may also affect the provision of health care services. Industry is providing an increasingly large proportion of routine health care services in many countries, so relationships built up with physicians have the potential to influence the commissioning of the services that are central to the treatment and well-being of patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
As a result of concerns about the tension between industry's need to make profits and the ethics underlying professional practice, restrictions are increasingly being placed on physician–industry interactions. In the US, for example, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act now requires US manufacturers of drugs, devices, and medical supplies that participate in federal health care programs to disclose all payments and gifts made to physicians and teaching hospitals. However, other health professionals, including those with authority to prescribe drugs such as pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and nurse practitioners are not covered by this legislation or by similar legislation in other settings, even though the restructuring of health care to prioritize primary care and multidisciplinary care models means that “non-physician clinicians” are becoming more numerous and more involved in decision-making and medication management. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the researchers examine the nature and implications of the interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 15 published studies that examined interactions between non-physician clinicians (Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, midwives, pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and dieticians) and industry (corporations that produce health care goods and services). They extracted the data from 16 publications (representing 15 different studies) and synthesized them qualitatively (combined the data and reached word-based, rather than numerical, conclusions) into eight outcome domains, including the nature and frequency of interactions, non-physician clinicians' attitudes toward industry, and the perceived ethical acceptability of interactions. In the research the authors identified, non-physician clinicians reported frequent interactions with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Most non-physician clinicians met industry representatives regularly, received gifts and samples, and attended educational events or received educational materials (some of which they distributed to patients). In these studies, non-physician clinicians generally regarded these interactions positively and felt they were an ethical and appropriate use of industry resources. Only a minority of non-physician clinicians felt that marketing influenced their own practice, although a larger percentage felt that their colleagues would be influenced. A sizeable proportion of non-physician clinicians questioned the reliability of industry information, but most were confident that they could detect biased information and therefore rated this information as reliable, valuable, or useful.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings suggest that non-physician clinicians generally have positive attitudes toward industry interactions but recognize issues related to bias and conflict of interest. Because these findings are based on a small number of studies, most of which were undertaken in the US, they may not be generalizable to other countries. Moreover, they provide no quantitative assessment of the interaction between non-physician clinicians and industry and no information about whether industry interactions affect patient care outcomes. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that industry interactions are normalized (seen as standard) in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. This normalization creates the potential for serious risks to patients and health care systems. The researchers suggest that it may be unrealistic to expect that non-physician clinicians can be taught individually how to interact with industry ethically or how to detect and avert bias, particularly given the ubiquitous nature of marketing and promotional materials. Instead, they suggest, the environment in which non-physician clinicians practice should be structured to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of interactions with industry.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by James S. Yeh and Aaron S. Kesselheim
The American Medical Association provides guidance for physicians on interactions with pharmaceutical industry representatives, information about the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and a toolkit for preparing Physician Payments Sunshine Act reports
The International Council of Nurses provides some guidance on industry interactions in its position statement on nurse-industry relations
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice website, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that schools of medicine and pharmacy can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion.
The Institute of Medicine's Report on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The University of California, San Francisco, Office of Continuing Medical Education offers a course called Marketing of Medicines
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561
PMCID: PMC3841103  PMID: 24302892
3.  Public’s attitudes towards community pharmacy in Qatar: a pilot study 
Objectives
To assess the public’s attitudes towards the community pharmacist’s role in Qatar, to investigate the public’s use of community pharmacy, and to determine the public’s views of and satisfaction with community pharmacy services currently provided in Qatar.
Materials and methods
Three community pharmacies in Qatar were randomly selected as study sites. Patients 16 years of age and over who were able to communicate in English or Arabic were randomly approached and anonymously interviewed using a multipart pretested survey.
Results
Over 5 weeks, 58 patients were interviewed (60% response rate). A total of 45% of respondents perceived community pharmacists as having a good balance between health and business matters. The physician was considered the first person to contact to answer drug- related questions by 50% of respondents. Most patients agreed that the community pharmacist should provide them with the medication directions of use (93%) and advise them about the treatment of minor ailments (79%); however, more than 70% didn’t expect the community pharmacist to monitor their health progress or to perform any health screening. Half of the participants (52%) reported visiting the pharmacy at least monthly. The top factor that affected a patient’s choice of any pharmacy was pharmacy location (90%). When asked about their views about community pharmacy services in Qatar, only 37% agreed that the pharmacist gave them sufficient time to discuss their problem and was knowledgeable enough to answer their questions.
Conclusion
This pilot study suggested that the public has a poor understanding of the community pharmacist’s role in monitoring drug therapy, performing health screening, and providing drug information. Several issues of concern were raised including insufficient pharmacist– patient contact time and unsatisfactory pharmacist knowledge. To advance pharmacy practice in Qatar, efforts may be warranted to address identified issues and to promote the community pharmacist’s role in drug therapy monitoring, drug information provision, and health screening.
doi:10.2147/PPA.S22117
PMCID: PMC3176180  PMID: 21949604
pharmacist; public; attitudes; Qatar
4.  Personality Traits of Hospital Pharmacists: Toward a Better Understanding of Factors Influencing Pharmacy Practice Change 
Background
The profession of pharmacy has adopted a mandate to become more patient-centred; however, significant change in this direction has not been achieved.
Objective:
To characterize the personality traits of hospital pharmacists in one Canadian province, to provide insights into potential barriers to practice change.
Methods:
A cross-sectional survey of hospital pharmacists was conducted in Alberta, Canada. An invitation to participate was sent to all 766 hospital pharmacists practising in the province’s 2 health service organizations. The survey was based on the Big Five Inventory, a validated, reliable instrument that uses a 5-point Likert scale to measure the traits of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness.
Results:
Of the 347 pharmacists who completed the survey (45% response rate), the majority (297 [86%]) were staff pharmacists working full time in an urban setting. The average age of respondents was 41 years (standard deviation [SD] 11 years), and the average period in practice was 17 years (SD 11 years). Respondents’ mean scores were 3.2 (SD 0.7) on extraversion, 3.8 (SD 0.4) on agreeableness, 4.0 (SD 0.4) on conscientiousness, 2.5 (SD 0.7) on neuroticism, and 3.5 (SD 0.6) on openness. Total frequency counts revealed that respondents tended toward stronger expression of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness and low levels of neuroticism (with the latter indicating stability).
Conclusion:
The Big Five Inventory represents a novel approach to examining pharmacists’ change-related behaviours. Improving understanding of hospital pharmacists’ personality traits will provide insights for the development of training and support programs tailored specifically to this group.
PMCID: PMC3806417  PMID: 24159231
pharmacy practice change; personality traits; Big Five Inventory; hospital pharmacy practice; changement de la pratique de la pharmacie; traits de personnalité; Inventaire des cinq grands facteurs de personnalité; pratique de la pharmacie hospitalière
5.  Clinical Utility of Vitamin D Testing 
Executive Summary
This report from the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) was intended to evaluate the clinical utility of vitamin D testing in average risk Canadians and in those with kidney disease. As a separate analysis, this report also includes a systematic literature review of the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in these two subgroups.
This evaluation did not set out to determine the serum vitamin D thresholds that might apply to non-bone health outcomes. For bone health outcomes, no high or moderate quality evidence could be found to support a target serum level above 50 nmol/L. Similarly, no high or moderate quality evidence could be found to support vitamin D’s effects in non-bone health outcomes, other than falls.
Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a lipid soluble vitamin that acts as a hormone. It stimulates intestinal calcium absorption and is important in maintaining adequate phosphate levels for bone mineralization, bone growth, and remodelling. It’s also believed to be involved in the regulation of cell growth proliferation and apoptosis (programmed cell death), as well as modulation of the immune system and other functions. Alone or in combination with calcium, Vitamin D has also been shown to reduce the risk of fractures in elderly men (≥ 65 years), postmenopausal women, and the risk of falls in community-dwelling seniors. However, in a comprehensive systematic review, inconsistent results were found concerning the effects of vitamin D in conditions such as cancer, all-cause mortality, and cardiovascular disease. In fact, no high or moderate quality evidence could be found concerning the effects of vitamin D in such non-bone health outcomes. Given the uncertainties surrounding the effects of vitamin D in non-bone health related outcomes, it was decided that this evaluation should focus on falls and the effects of vitamin D in bone health and exclusively within average-risk individuals and patients with kidney disease.
Synthesis of vitamin D occurs naturally in the skin through exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from sunlight, but it can also be obtained from dietary sources including fortified foods, and supplements. Foods rich in vitamin D include fatty fish, egg yolks, fish liver oil, and some types of mushrooms. Since it is usually difficult to obtain sufficient vitamin D from non-fortified foods, either due to low content or infrequent use, most vitamin D is obtained from fortified foods, exposure to sunlight, and supplements.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Vitamin D deficiency may lead to rickets in infants and osteomalacia in adults. Factors believed to be associated with vitamin D deficiency include:
darker skin pigmentation,
winter season,
living at higher latitudes,
skin coverage,
kidney disease,
malabsorption syndromes such as Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and
genetic factors.
Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency due to either renal losses or decreased synthesis of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D.
Health Canada currently recommends that, until the daily recommended intakes (DRI) for vitamin D are updated, Canada’s Food Guide (Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide) should be followed with respect to vitamin D intake. Issued in 2007, the Guide recommends that Canadians consume two cups (500 ml) of fortified milk or fortified soy beverages daily in order to obtain a daily intake of 200 IU. In addition, men and women over the age of 50 should take 400 IU of vitamin D supplements daily. Additional recommendations were made for breastfed infants.
A Canadian survey evaluated the median vitamin D intake derived from diet alone (excluding supplements) among 35,000 Canadians, 10,900 of which were from Ontario. Among Ontarian males ages 9 and up, the median daily dietary vitamin D intake ranged between 196 IU and 272 IU per day. Among females, it varied from 152 IU to 196 IU per day. In boys and girls ages 1 to 3, the median daily dietary vitamin D intake was 248 IU, while among those 4 to 8 years it was 224 IU.
Vitamin D Testing
Two laboratory tests for vitamin D are available, 25-hydroxy vitamin D, referred to as 25(OH)D, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. Vitamin D status is assessed by measuring the serum 25(OH)D levels, which can be assayed using radioimmunoassays, competitive protein-binding assays (CPBA), high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). These may yield different results with inter-assay variation reaching up to 25% (at lower serum levels) and intra-assay variation reaching 10%.
The optimal serum concentration of vitamin D has not been established and it may change across different stages of life. Similarly, there is currently no consensus on target serum vitamin D levels. There does, however, appear to be a consensus on the definition of vitamin D deficiency at 25(OH)D < 25 nmol/l, which is based on the risk of diseases such as rickets and osteomalacia. Higher target serum levels have also been proposed based on subclinical endpoints such as parathyroid hormone (PTH). Therefore, in this report, two conservative target serum levels have been adopted, 25 nmol/L (based on the risk of rickets and osteomalacia), and 40 to 50 nmol/L (based on vitamin D’s interaction with PTH).
Ontario Context
Volume & Cost
The volume of vitamin D tests done in Ontario has been increasing over the past 5 years with a steep increase of 169,000 tests in 2007 to more than 393,400 tests in 2008. The number of tests continues to rise with the projected number of tests for 2009 exceeding 731,000. According to the Ontario Schedule of Benefits, the billing cost of each test is $51.7 for 25(OH)D (L606, 100 LMS units, $0.517/unit) and $77.6 for 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (L605, 150 LMS units, $0.517/unit). Province wide, the total annual cost of vitamin D testing has increased from approximately $1.7M in 2004 to over $21.0M in 2008. The projected annual cost for 2009 is approximately $38.8M.
Evidence-Based Analysis
The objective of this report is to evaluate the clinical utility of vitamin D testing in the average risk population and in those with kidney disease. As a separate analysis, the report also sought to evaluate the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Canada. The specific research questions addressed were thus:
What is the clinical utility of vitamin D testing in the average risk population and in subjects with kidney disease?
What is the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the average risk population in Canada?
What is the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in patients with kidney disease in Canada?
Clinical utility was defined as the ability to improve bone health outcomes with the focus on the average risk population (excluding those with osteoporosis) and patients with kidney disease.
Literature Search
A literature search was performed on July 17th, 2009 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1, 1998 until July 17th, 2009. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Articles with unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist, then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Observational studies that evaluated the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Canada in the population of interest were included based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria listed below. The baseline values were used in this report in the case of interventional studies that evaluated the effect of vitamin D intake on serum levels. Studies published in grey literature were included if no studies published in the peer-reviewed literature were identified for specific outcomes or subgroups.
Considering that vitamin D status may be affected by factors such as latitude, sun exposure, food fortification, among others, the search focused on prevalence studies published in Canada. In cases where no Canadian prevalence studies were identified, the decision was made to include studies from the United States, given the similar policies in vitamin D food fortification and recommended daily intake.
Inclusion Criteria
Studies published in English
Publications that reported the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Canada
Studies that included subjects from the general population or with kidney disease
Studies in children or adults
Studies published between January 1998 and July 17th 2009
Exclusion Criteria
Studies that included subjects defined according to a specific disease other than kidney disease
Letters, comments, and editorials
Studies that measured the serum vitamin D levels but did not report the percentage of subjects with serum levels below a given threshold
Outcomes of Interest
Prevalence of serum vitamin D less than 25 nmol/L
Prevalence of serum vitamin D less than 40 to 50 nmol/L
Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D was the metabolite used to assess vitamin D status. Results from adult and children studies were reported separately. Subgroup analyses according to factors that affect serum vitamin D levels (e.g., seasonal effects, skin pigmentation, and vitamin D intake) were reported if enough information was provided in the studies
Quality of Evidence
The quality of the prevalence studies was based on the method of subject recruitment and sampling, possibility of selection bias, and generalizability to the source population. The overall quality of the trials was examined according to the GRADE Working Group criteria.
Summary of Findings
Fourteen prevalence studies examining Canadian adults and children met the eligibility criteria. With the exception of one longitudinal study, the studies had a cross-sectional design. Two studies were conducted among Canadian adults with renal disease but none studied Canadian children with renal disease (though three such US studies were included). No systematic reviews or health technology assessments that evaluated the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Canada were identified. Two studies were published in grey literature, consisting of a Canadian survey designed to measure serum vitamin D levels and a study in infants presented as an abstract at a conference. Also included were the results of vitamin D tests performed in community laboratories in Ontario between October 2008 and September 2009 (provided by the Ontario Association of Medical Laboratories).
Different threshold levels were used in the studies, thus we reported the percentage of subjects with serum levels of between 25 and 30 nmol/L and between 37.5 and 50 nmol/L. Some studies stratified the results according to factors affecting vitamin D status and two used multivariate models to investigate the effects of these characteristics (including age, season, BMI, vitamin D intake, skin pigmentation, and season) on serum 25(OH)D levels. It’s unclear, however, if these studies were adequately powered for these subgroup analyses.
Study participants generally consisted of healthy, community-dwelling subjects and most excluded individuals with conditions or medications that alter vitamin D or bone metabolism, such as kidney or liver disease. Although the studies were conducted in different parts of Canada, fewer were performed in Northern latitudes, i.e. above 53°N, which is equivalent to the city of Edmonton.
Adults
Serum vitamin D levels of < 25 to 30 nmol/L were observed in 0% to 25.5% of the subjects included in five studies; the weighted average was 3.8% (95% CI: 3.0, 4.6). The preliminary results of the Canadian survey showed that approximately 5% of the subjects had serum levels below 29.5 nmol/L. The results of over 600,000 vitamin D tests performed in Ontarian community laboratories between October 2008 and September 2009 showed that 2.6% of adults (> 18 years) had serum levels < 25 nmol/L.
The prevalence of serum vitamin D levels below 37.5-50 nmol/L reported among studies varied widely, ranging from 8% to 73.6% with a weighted average of 22.5%. The preliminary results of the CHMS survey showed that between 10% and 25% of subjects had serum levels below 37 to 48 nmol/L. The results of the vitamin D tests performed in community laboratories showed that 10% to 25% of the individuals had serum levels between 39 and 50 nmol/L.
In an attempt to explain this inter-study variation, the study results were stratified according to factors affecting serum vitamin D levels, as summarized below. These results should be interpreted with caution as none were adjusted for other potential confounders. Adequately powered multivariate analyses would be necessary to determine the contribution of risk factors to lower serum 25(OH)D levels.
Seasonal variation
Three adult studies evaluating serum vitamin D levels in different seasons observed a trend towards a higher prevalence of serum levels < 37.5 to 50 nmol/L during the winter and spring months, specifically 21% to 39%, compared to 8% to 14% in the summer. The weighted average was 23.6% over the winter/spring months and 9.6% over summer. The difference between the seasons was not statistically significant in one study and not reported in the other two studies.
Skin Pigmentation
Four studies observed a trend toward a higher prevalence of serum vitamin D levels < 37.5 to 50 nmol/L in subjects with darker skin pigmentation compared to those with lighter skin pigmentation, with weighted averages of 46.8% among adults with darker skin colour and 15.9% among those with fairer skin.
Vitamin D intake and serum levels
Four adult studies evaluated serum vitamin D levels according to vitamin D intake and showed an overall trend toward a lower prevalence of serum levels < 37.5 to 50 nmol/L with higher levels of vitamin D intake. One study observed a dose-response relationship between higher vitamin D intake from supplements, diet (milk), and sun exposure (results not adjusted for other variables). It was observed that subjects taking 50 to 400 IU or > 400 IU of vitamin D per day had a 6% and 3% prevalence of serum vitamin D level < 40 nmol/L, respectively, versus 29% in subjects not on vitamin D supplementation. Similarly, among subjects drinking one or two glasses of milk per day, the prevalence of serum vitamin D levels < 40 nmol/L was found to be 15%, versus 6% in those who drink more than two glasses of milk per day and 21% among those who do not drink milk. On the other hand, one study observed little variation in serum vitamin D levels during winter according to milk intake, with the proportion of subjects exhibiting vitamin D levels of < 40 nmol/L being 21% among those drinking 0-2 glasses per day, 26% among those drinking > 2 glasses, and 20% among non-milk drinkers.
The overall quality of evidence for the studies conducted among adults was deemed to be low, although it was considered moderate for the subgroups of skin pigmentation and seasonal variation.
Newborn, Children and Adolescents
Five Canadian studies evaluated serum vitamin D levels in newborns, children, and adolescents. In four of these, it was found that between 0 and 36% of children exhibited deficiency across age groups with a weighted average of 6.4%. The results of over 28,000 vitamin D tests performed in children 0 to 18 years old in Ontario laboratories (Oct. 2008 to Sept. 2009) showed that 4.4% had serum levels of < 25 nmol/L.
According to two studies, 32% of infants 24 to 30 months old and 35.3% of newborns had serum vitamin D levels of < 50 nmol/L. Two studies of children 2 to 16 years old reported that 24.5% and 34% had serum vitamin D levels below 37.5 to 40 nmol/L. In both studies, older children exhibited a higher prevalence than younger children, with weighted averages 34.4% and 10.3%, respectively. The overall weighted average of the prevalence of serum vitamin D levels < 37.5 to 50 nmol/L among pediatric studies was 25.8%. The preliminary results of the Canadian survey showed that between 10% and 25% of subjects between 6 and 11 years (N= 435) had serum levels below 50 nmol/L, while for those 12 to 19 years, 25% to 50% exhibited serum vitamin D levels below 50 nmol/L.
The effects of season, skin pigmentation, and vitamin D intake were not explored in Canadian pediatric studies. A Canadian surveillance study did, however, report 104 confirmed cases1 (2.9 cases per 100,000 children) of vitamin D-deficient rickets among Canadian children age 1 to 18 between 2002 and 2004, 57 (55%) of which from Ontario. The highest incidence occurred among children living in the North, i.e., the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. In 92 (89%) cases, skin pigmentation was categorized as intermediate to dark, 98 (94%) had been breastfed, and 25 (24%) were offspring of immigrants to Canada. There were no cases of rickets in children receiving ≥ 400 IU VD supplementation/day.
Overall, the quality of evidence of the studies of children was considered very low.
Kidney Disease
Adults
Two studies evaluated serum vitamin D levels in Canadian adults with kidney disease. The first included 128 patients with chronic kidney disease stages 3 to 5, 38% of which had serum vitamin D levels of < 37.5 nmol/L (measured between April and July). This is higher than what was reported in Canadian studies of the general population during the summer months (i.e. between 8% and 14%). In the second, which examined 419 subjects who had received a renal transplantation (mean time since transplantation: 7.2 ± 6.4 years), the prevalence of serum vitamin D levels < 40 nmol/L was 27.3%. The authors concluded that the prevalence observed in the study population was similar to what is expected in the general population.
Children
No studies evaluating serum vitamin D levels in Canadian pediatric patients with kidney disease could be identified, although three such US studies among children with chronic kidney disease stages 1 to 5 were. The mean age varied between 10.7 and 12.5 years in two studies but was not reported in the third. Across all three studies, the prevalence of serum vitamin D levels below the range of 37.5 to 50 nmol/L varied between 21% and 39%, which is not considerably different from what was observed in studies of healthy Canadian children (24% to 35%).
Overall, the quality of evidence in adults and children with kidney disease was considered very low.
Clinical Utility of Vitamin D Testing
A high quality comprehensive systematic review published in August 2007 evaluated the association between serum vitamin D levels and different bone health outcomes in different age groups. A total of 72 studies were included. The authors observed that there was a trend towards improvement in some bone health outcomes with higher serum vitamin D levels. Nevertheless, precise thresholds for improved bone health outcomes could not be defined across age groups. Further, no new studies on the association were identified during an updated systematic review on vitamin D published in July 2009.
With regards to non-bone health outcomes, there is no high or even moderate quality evidence that supports the effectiveness of vitamin D in outcomes such as cancer, cardiovascular outcomes, and all-cause mortality. Even if there is any residual uncertainty, there is no evidence that testing vitamin D levels encourages adherence to Health Canada’s guidelines for vitamin D intake. A normal serum vitamin D threshold required to prevent non-bone health related conditions cannot be resolved until a causal effect or correlation has been demonstrated between vitamin D levels and these conditions. This is as an ongoing research issue around which there is currently too much uncertainty to base any conclusions that would support routine vitamin D testing.
For patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), there is again no high or moderate quality evidence supporting improved outcomes through the use of calcitriol or vitamin D analogs. In the absence of such data, the authors of the guidelines for CKD patients consider it best practice to maintain serum calcium and phosphate at normal levels, while supplementation with active vitamin D should be considered if serum PTH levels are elevated. As previously stated, the authors of guidelines for CKD patients believe that there is not enough evidence to support routine vitamin D [25(OH)D] testing. According to what is stated in the guidelines, decisions regarding the commencement or discontinuation of treatment with calcitriol or vitamin D analogs should be based on serum PTH, calcium, and phosphate levels.
Limitations associated with the evidence of vitamin D testing include ambiguities in the definition of an ‘adequate threshold level’ and both inter- and intra- assay variability. The MAS considers both the lack of a consensus on the target serum vitamin D levels and assay limitations directly affect and undermine the clinical utility of testing. The evidence supporting the clinical utility of vitamin D testing is thus considered to be of very low quality.
Daily vitamin D intake, either through diet or supplementation, should follow Health Canada’s recommendations for healthy individuals of different age groups. For those with medical conditions such as renal disease, liver disease, and malabsorption syndromes, and for those taking medications that may affect vitamin D absorption/metabolism, physician guidance should be followed with respect to both vitamin D testing and supplementation.
Conclusions
Studies indicate that vitamin D, alone or in combination with calcium, may decrease the risk of fractures and falls among older adults.
There is no high or moderate quality evidence to support the effectiveness of vitamin D in other outcomes such as cancer, cardiovascular outcomes, and all-cause mortality.
Studies suggest that the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Canadian adults and children is relatively low (approximately 5%), and between 10% and 25% have serum levels below 40 to 50 nmol/L (based on very low to low grade evidence).
Given the limitations associated with serum vitamin D measurement, ambiguities in the definition of a ‘target serum level’, and the availability of clear guidelines on vitamin D supplementation from Health Canada, vitamin D testing is not warranted for the average risk population.
Health Canada has issued recommendations regarding the adequate daily intake of vitamin D, but current studies suggest that the mean dietary intake is below these recommendations. Accordingly, Health Canada’s guidelines and recommendations should be promoted.
Based on a moderate level of evidence, individuals with darker skin pigmentation appear to have a higher risk of low serum vitamin D levels than those with lighter skin pigmentation and therefore may need to be specially targeted with respect to optimum vitamin D intake. The cause-effect of this association is currently unclear.
Individuals with medical conditions such as renal and liver disease, osteoporosis, and malabsorption syndromes, as well as those taking medications that may affect vitamin D absorption/metabolism, should follow their physician’s guidance concerning both vitamin D testing and supplementation.
PMCID: PMC3377517  PMID: 23074397
6.  Societal perspectives on community pharmacy services in West Bank - Palestine 
Pharmacy Practice  2012;10(1):17-24.
Background
Understanding the public's view of professional competency is extremely important; however little has been reported on the public's perception of community pharmacists in Palestine
Objective
To determine the perception of Palestinian consumers of the community pharmacist and the services they offer.
Methods
This project used the survey methodology administered by structured interviews to consumers who attended the 39 randomly selected pharmacies, in six main cities in Palestine. The questionnaire had range of structured questions covering: Consumers' patronage patterns, consumers’ interaction with community pharmacists, consumers’ views on how the pharmacist dealt with personal health issues, procedure with regard to handling private consultations.
Results
Of 1,017 consumers approached, 790 consumers completed the questionnaire (77.7 %). Proximity to home and presence of knowledgeable pharmacist were the main reasons for patients to visit the same pharmacy. Physicians were identified as the preferred source of advice by 57.2% and pharmacists by 23.8%. Only 17% of respondents considered pharmacists as health professionals who know a lot about drugs and are concerned about and committed to caring for the public. In addition, 49% indicated that pharmacists spoke more quietly cross the counter during counseling and almost one third reported that the pharmacist used a private area within the pharmacy. The majority of respondents would be happy to receive different extended services in the community pharmacy like blood pressure monitoring.
Conclusions
Palestinian consumers have a positive overall perception of community pharmacists and the services they offer. Awareness should be created amongst the public about the role of pharmacist and the added value they can provide as health care professional. There is a need to consider privacy when giving patient counseling to increase user satisfaction.
PMCID: PMC3798164  PMID: 24155812
Patient Satisfaction; Pharmacists; Professional Role; Middle East
7.  What Patients Want: Preferences Regarding Hospital Pharmacy Services 
Background
The role of hospital pharmacists has evolved over the past couple of decades from preparation and distribution of medications to active involvement in health care teams, through identification and resolution of patients’ medication-related issues in an effort to improve patient outcomes. However, patients’ preferences about pharmacy services are not well known.
Objective:
To use content analysis of open-ended survey responses from recently discharged patients to determine desired pharmacy services.
Methods:
Former inpatients were randomly selected for participation in a telephone survey following discharge from acute care hospitals in the Horizon Health Network in New Brunswick. The survey included the question, “What service or information would you like a pharmacist to provide in the hospital that would most help you in managing your medications?” For responses to this question, 2 raters established response categories, obtained acceptable inter-rater agreement, and independently scored the responses.
Results:
Four global categories of responses were obtained, each having multiple subcategories. Of the 703 responses (from 325 respondents), 445 (63.3%) were related to the category “information about medications”, including purpose, adherence, and side effects. The second most common response category was “self-disclosure” (167 [23.8%]), including experiences with pharmacies, medications, or hospitals. Less frequently, responses pertained to “pharmacy services” (54 [7.7%]), such as medication costs and continuity of care, and to “information source for medications” (37 [5.3%]).
Conclusions:
Most respondents to this survey wanted hospital pharmacists to provide a general medication overview, including information about side effects and interactions, during their admission. The results suggest that many patients are unaware of other potential clinical services that pharmacists can provide. A future study could assess patients’ willingness to select from a guiding list of potential clinical services.
PMCID: PMC3694939  PMID: 23814285
clinical pharmacy services; expanded pharmacy services; patient expectations; services de pharmacie clinique; services de pharmacie élargis; attentes des patients
8.  Effects of prescription adaptation by pharmacists 
Background
Granting dispensing pharmacists the authority to prescribe has significant implications for pharmaceutical and health human resources policy, and quality of care. Despite the growing number of jurisdictions that have given pharmacists such privileges, there are few rigorous evaluations of these policy changes. This study will examine a January 2009 policy change in British Columbia (BC), Canada that allowed pharmacists to independently adapt and renew prescriptions. We hypothesize this policy increased drug utilization and drug costs, increased patient adherence to medication, and reduced total healthcare resource use.
Methods/Design
We will study a population-based cohort of approximately 4 million BC residents from 2004 through 2010. We will use data from BC PharmaNet on all of the prescriptions obtained by this cohort during the study period, and link it to administrative billings from physicians and hospital discharges. Using interrupted time series analysis, we will study longitudinal changes in drug utilization and costs, medication adherence, and short-term health care use. Further, using hierarchical modelling, we will examine the factors at the regional, pharmacy, patient, and prescription levels that are associated with prescription adaptations and renewals.
Discussion
In a recent survey of Canadian policymakers, many respondents ranked the issue of prescribing privileges as one of their most pressing policy questions. No matter the results of our study, they will be important for policymakers, as our data will make policy decisions surrounding pharmacist prescribing more evidence-based.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-313
PMCID: PMC2994856  PMID: 21083922
9.  Role of community pharmacies in prevention of AIDS among injecting drug misusers: findings of a survey in England and Wales. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1989;299(6707):1076-1079.
OBJECTIVE--To determine the current and potential roles of community pharmacists in the prevention of AIDS among misusers of injected drugs. DESIGN--Cross sectional postal survey of a one in four random sample of registered pharmacies in England and Wales. SETTING--Project conducted in the addiction research unit of the Institute of Psychiatry, London. SUBJECTS--2469 Community pharmacies in the 15 regional health authorities in England and Wales. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Willingness of pharmacists to sell injecting equipment to known or suspected misusers of drugs; pharmacists' attitudes to syringe exchange schemes, keeping a "sharps" box for use by misusers of drugs, and offering face to face advice and leaflets; and opinions of community pharmacists on their role in AIDS prevention and drug misuse. RESULTS--1946 Questionnaires were returned, representing a response rate of 79%. This fell short of the target of one in four pharmacies in each family practitioner committee area in England and Wales, and total numbers of respondents were therefore weighted in inverse proportion to the response rate in each area. The findings disclosed a substantial demand for injecting equipment by drug misusers. After weighting of numbers of respondents an estimated 676 of 2434 pharmacies were currently selling injecting equipment and 65 of 2415 (3%) were participating in local syringe exchange schemes; only 94 of 2410 pharmacies (4%) had a sharps box for used equipment. There was a high degree of concern among pharmacists about particular consequences of drug misusers visiting their premises, along with a widespread acceptance that the community pharmacist had an important part to play. CONCLUSIONS--Promoting the participation of community pharmacists in the prevention of AIDS among misusers of injected drugs is a viable policy, but several problems would need to be overcome before it was implemented.
PMCID: PMC1837978  PMID: 2511969
10.  Care Providers’ Satisfaction with Restructured Clinical Pharmacy Services in a Tertiary Care Teaching Hospital 
Background:
At the time this study was undertaken, clinical pharmacy services at the authors’ institution, a tertiary care teaching hospital, were largely reactive in nature, with patients and units receiving inconsistent coverage.
Objective:
To develop an evidence-based model of proactive practice and to evaluate the satisfaction of pharmacists and other stakeholders after restructuring of clinical pharmacy services.
Methods:
The literature was reviewed to determine a core set of pharmacist services associated with the greatest beneficial impact on patients’ health. On the basis of established staffing levels, the work schedule was modified, and pharmacists were assigned to a limited number of patient care teams to proactively and consistently provide these core services. Other patient care teams continued to receive reactive troubleshooting-based services, as directed by staff in the pharmacy dispensary. A satisfaction survey was distributed to all pharmacists, nurses, and physicians 18 months after the restructuring.
Results:
Of the 26 pharmacists who responded to the survey, all agreed or strongly agreed that the restructuring of services had improved job satisfaction and patient safety and that other health care professionals valued their contribution to patient care. Nurses and physicians from units where pharmacists had been assigned to provide proactive services perceived pharmacist services more favourably than those from units where pharmacist services were reactive. Pharmacists, nurses, and physicians all felt that proactive pharmacist services should be more widely available. Challenges reported by pharmacists included increased expectations for documentation and guilt about “cutting back” services where they had previously been provided.
Conclusions:
Restructuring clinical pharmacy services in an evidence-based manner improved pharmacists’ satisfaction and created demand from other stakeholders to provide this level of service for all patients.
PMCID: PMC2858499  PMID: 22478965
clinical pharmacy; restructuring; tertiary care hospital; evidence-based; practice delivery; pharmacie clinique; restructuration; hôpital de soins tertiaires; données probantes; prestation de services
11.  Survey of Sterile Admixture Practices in Canadian Hospital Pharmacies: Part 1. Methods and Results 
Background:
The 1996 Guidelines for Preparation of Sterile Products in Pharmacies of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP) represent the current standard of practice for sterile compounding in Canada. However, these guidelines are practice recommendations, not enforceable standards. Previous surveys of sterile compounding practices have shown that actual practice deviates markedly from voluntary practice recommendations. In 2004, the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) published its “General Chapter <797> Pharmaceutical Compounding—Sterile Preparations”, which set a more rigorous and enforceable standard for sterile compounding in the United States.
Objectives:
To assess sterile compounding practices in Canadian hospital pharmacies and to compare them with current CSHP recommendations and USP chapter <797> standards.
Methods:
An online survey, based on previous studies of sterile compounding practices, the CSHP guidelines, and the chapter <797> standards, was created and distributed to 193 Canadian hospital pharmacies.
Results:
A total of 133 pharmacies completed at least part of the survey, for a response rate of 68.9%. All respondents reported the preparation of sterile products. Various degrees of deviation from the practice recommendations were noted for virtually all areas of the CSHP guidelines and the USP standards. Low levels of compliance were most notable in the areas of facilities and equipment, process validation, and product testing. Availability in the central pharmacy of a clean room facility meeting or exceeding the criteria of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) class 8 is a requirement of the chapter <797> standards, but more than 40% of responding pharmacies reported that they did not have such a facility. Higher levels of compliance were noted for policies and procedures, garbing requirements, aseptic technique, and handling of hazardous products. Part 1 of this series reports the survey methods and results relating to policies, personnel, raw materials, storage and handling, facilities and equipment, and garments. Part 2 will report results relating to preparation of aseptic products, expiry dating, labelling, process validation, product testing and release, documentation, records, and disposal of hazardous pharmaceuticals. It will also highlight some of the key areas where there is considerable opportunity for improvement.
Conclusion:
This survey identified numerous deficiences in sterile compounding practices in Canadian hospital pharmacies. Awareness of these deficiencies may create an impetus for critical assessment and improvements in practice.
PMCID: PMC2826929  PMID: 22478875
chapter <797>; sterile compounding; aseptic technique; chapitre <797>; préparation de produits stériles; techniques aseptiques
12.  Survey of Sterile Admixture Practices in Canadian Hospital Pharmacies: Part 2. More Results and Discussion 
Background:
The 1996 Guidelines for Preparation of Sterile Products in Pharmacies of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP) represent the current standard of practice for sterile compounding in Canada. However, these guidelines are practice recommendations, not enforceable standards. Previous surveys of sterile compounding practices have shown that actual practice deviates markedly from voluntary practice recommendations. In 2004, the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) published its “General Chapter <797> Pharmaceutical Compounding—Sterile Preparations”, which set a more rigorous and enforceable standard for sterile compounding in the United States.
Objectives:
To assess sterile compounding practices in Canadian hospital pharmacies and to compare them with current CSHP recommendations and USP chapter <797> standards.
Methods:
An online survey, based on previous studies of sterile compounding practices, the CSHP guidelines, and the chapter <797> standards, was created and distributed to 193 Canadian hospital pharmacies.
Results:
A total of 133 pharmacies completed at least part of the survey, for a response rate of 68.9%. All respondents reported the preparation of sterile products. Various degrees of deviation from the practice recommendations were noted for virtually all areas of the CSHP guidelines and the USP standards. Low levels of compliance were most notable in the areas of facilities and equipment, process validation, and product testing. Availability in the central pharmacy of a clean room facility meeting or exceeding the criteria of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) class 8 is a requirement of the chapter <797> standards, but more than 40% of responding pharmacies reported that they did not have such a facility. Higher levels of compliance were noted for policies and procedures, garbing requirements, aseptic technique, and handling of hazardous products. The survey methods for this study and results relating to policies, personnel, raw materials, storage and handling, facilities and equipment, and garments were reported in Part 1. Part 2 reports results relating to preparation of aseptic products, expiry dating, labelling, process validation, product testing and release, documentation, records, and disposal of hazardous pharmaceuticals. It also highlights some of the key areas where there is considerable opportunity for improvement.
Conclusion:
This survey identified numerous deficiencies in sterile compounding practices in Canadian hospital pharmacies. Awareness of these deficiencies may create an impetus for critical assessment and improvements in practice.
PMCID: PMC2826950  PMID: 22478890
chapter <797>; sterile compounding; aseptic technique; expiry dating; process validation; disposal of hazardous pharmaceuticals; chapitre <797>; préparation de produits stériles; techniques aseptiques; attribution de la date de péremption; validation de la procédure; élimination des produits pharmaceutiques dangereux
13.  Practice, awareness and opinion of pharmacists toward disposal of unwanted medications in Kuwait 
Background
The disposal of unwanted medications has been a concern in many countries, as pharmaceutical waste enters the ecosystem, ultimately having an effect on human health and environment. Earlier studies in Kuwait found that the method of disposal by the public was by disposing in the garbage or by flushing down the drain. In accordance with patient preference and environment safety, it would be appropriate to use local government pharmacies as collection points for proper disposal.
Objective
To determine the practice of pharmacists, working in government healthcare sectors, with regard to disposal of returned unwanted medications by the public. This study also aims to assess pharmacists’ awareness toward the impact of improper disposal on the environment and to investigate whether pharmacists agree to have their pharmacies as collection points for future take-back programs.
Method
A random sample of 144 pharmacists from the six main governmental hospitals and 12 specialized polyclinics in Kuwait, completed a self-administered questionnaire about their practice of disposal, awareness and opinion on using pharmacies as collection points for proper disposal of UMs. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results
A total of 144 pharmacists completed the survey. Throwing UMs in the trash was the main method of disposal by majority of the respondents (73%). Only 23 pharmacists disposed UMs according to the guidelines of Ministry of Health, Kuwait (MOH). However, about 82% are aware that improper disposal causes damage to the environment and 97% agree that it is their responsibility to protect the environment. About 86–88% of the pharmacists agree to have government hospital pharmacies and polyclinics as collection points for future take-back programs.
Conclusion
Even though the current practice of disposal by majority of pharmacists is inappropriate, they are aware of the damage and acknowledge their responsibilities toward environment protection. Concerned authorities should monitor and implement proper disposal guidelines in all pharmacies. Majority of pharmacists support the idea of having the government pharmacies as collection points for safe disposal of UMs in Kuwait.
doi:10.1016/j.jsps.2012.04.001
PMCID: PMC3744962  PMID: 23960793
Unwanted medications; Pharmaceutical waste; Environment; Pharmacist; Kuwait
14.  Availability and needs of herbal medicinal information resources at community pharmacy, Riyadh region, Saudi Arabia 
A cross-sectional survey of community pharmacists in Riyadh region, Saudi Arabia was conducted over a period of 6 months from July through December 2011. Data collection was carried out using a structured self-administered questionnaire. The survey questionnaire consisted of a brief introduction to the study and eleven questions. The questions consisted of close ended, multiple-choice, and fill-in short answers. A stratified random sample of one thousand and seven hundred registered pharmacy practitioners all over Saudi Arabia were randomly chosen to respond to the survey. The data from each of the returned questionnaire were coded and entered into Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 19 software (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA) which was used for statistical analysis. Only one thousand four hundred one pharmacists responded to the survey (response rate is 82.4%) with a completely answered questionnaire. The study results show that 59.7% of the participants sometimes discuss herbal medicine use with their patients, while only 4.25% never discuss it. The study shows 48.5% of participated pharmacists record herbal medicine use sometimes where only 9.4% of them never did so. However, with regard to initiation of the discussion, the study shows that 44.3% of the respondents reported that patients initiate herbal issue discussion while 20.8% reported that pharmacists initiate the discussion. This discussion was reported to be a one time discussion or an ongoing discussion by 14.3% or 9.9% of the respondents respectively. According to the study results, respondents reported that the most common barriers that limit discussing herbal medicines’ use with their patients were lack of time due to other obligations assigned to the community pharmacist (46%), lack of reliable resources (30.3%), lack of scientific evidence that support herbal medicine use (15.2%), or lack of knowledge of herbal medicines (13.4%). Yet, a small number of respondents was concerned about interest in herbal medicines (9.1%) and other reasons (2.4%). So it is urgent to ensure that pharmacists are appropriately educated and trained. Extra efforts are needed to increase the awareness of pharmacists to adverse drug reactions reporting system at Saudi Food and Drug Authority. Finally, more consideration to herbal issues should be addressed in both pharmacy colleges’ curricula and continuous education program..
doi:10.1016/j.jsps.2012.11.004
PMCID: PMC3824944  PMID: 24227954
Recourse; Medicinal; Herbal; Availability
15.  A Guide for Health Professionals Working with Aboriginal Peoples: Executive Summary 
Objective
to provide Canadian health professionals with a network of information and recommendations regarding Aboriginal health.
Options
health professionals working with Aboriginal individuals and communities in the area of women’s health care.
Outcomes
improved health status of Aboriginal peoples in Canada.
Appropriateness and accessibility of women’s health services for Aboriginal peoples.
Improved communication and clinical skills of health professionals in the area of Aboriginal health.
Improved quality of relationship between health professionals and Aboriginal individuals and communities.
Improved quality of relationship between health care professionals and Aboriginal individuals and communities.
Evidence
recommendations are based on expert opinion and a review of the literature. Published references were identified by a Medline search of all review articles, randomized clinical control trials, meta-analyses, and practice guidelines from 1966 to February 1999, using the MeSH headings “Indians, North American or Eskimos” and “Health.”* Subsequently published articles were brought to the attention of the authors in the process of writing and reviewing the document. Ancillary and unpublished references were recommended by members of the SOGC Aboriginal Health Issues Committee and the panel of expert reviewers.
Values
information collected was reviewed by the principal author. The social, cultural, political, and historic context of Aboriginal peoples in Canada, systemic barriers regarding the publication of information by Aboriginal authors, the diversity of Aboriginal peoples in Canada, and the need for a culturally appropriate and balanced presentation were carefully considered in addition to more traditional scientific evaluation. The majority of information collected consisted of descriptive health and social information and such evaluation tools as the evidence guidelines of the Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health exam were not appropriate.
Benefits, costs, and harms
utilization of the information and recommendations by Canadian health professionals will enhance understanding, communication, and clinical skills in the area of Aboriginal health. The resulting enhancement of collaborative relationships between Aboriginal peoples and their women’s health providers may contribute to health services that are more appropriate, effective, efficient, and accessible for Aboriginal peoples in Canada. The educational process may require an initial investment of time from the health professional.
Recommendations
Recommendations were grouped according to four themes: sociocultural context, health concerns, cross-cultural understanding, and Aboriginal health resources. Health professionals are encouraged to learn the appropriate names, demographics, and traditional geographic territories and language groups of the various Aboriginal groups in Canada. In addition, sensitivity to the impact of colonization and current socioeconomic challenges to the health status of Aboriginal peoples is warranted. Health services for Aboriginal peoples should take place as close to home as possible. Governmental obligations and policies regarding determination are recognized. With respect to health concerns, holistic definitions of health, based on Aboriginal perspectives, are put forward. Aboriginal peoples continue to experience a disproportionate burden of health problems. Health professionals are encouraged to become familiar with several key areas of morbidity and mortality. Relationships between Aboriginal peoples and their care providers need to be based on a foundation of mutual respect. Gaps and barriers in the current health care system for Aboriginal peoples are identified. Health professionals are encouraged to work with Aboriginal individuals and communities to address these gaps and barriers. Aboriginal peoples require culturally appropriate health care, including treatment in their own languages when possible. This may require interpreters or Aboriginal health advocates. Health professionals are encouraged to recognize the importance of family and community roles, and to respect traditional medicines and healers. Health professionals can develop their sensitivities towards Aboriginal peoples by participating in workshops, making use of educational resources, and by spending time with Aboriginal peoples in their communities. Aboriginal communities and health professionals are encouraged to support community-based, community-directed health services and health research for Aboriginal peoples. In addition, the education of more Aboriginal health professionals is essential. The need for a preventative approach to health programming in Aboriginal communities is stressed.
Validation
recommendations were reviewed and revised by the SOGC Aboriginal Health Issues Committee, a panel of expert reviewers, and the SOGC Council. In addition, this document was also reviewed and supported by the Assembly of First Nations, Canadian Institute of Child Health, Canadian Paediatric Society, College of Family Physicians of Canada, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, Federation of Medical Women of Canada, Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, Metis National Council, National Indian and Inuit Community Health Representatives Organization, and Pauktuutit Inuit Women’s Association.
Sponsor
Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.
PMCID: PMC3653835  PMID: 23682204 CAMSID: cams2752
16.  Dirt Cheap and Without Prescription: How Susceptible are Young US Consumers to Purchasing Drugs From Rogue Internet Pharmacies? 
Background
Websites of many rogue sellers of medications are accessible through links in email spam messages or via web search engines. This study examined how well students enrolled in a U.S. higher education institution could identify clearly unsafe pharmacies.
Objective
The aim is to estimate these health consumers´ vulnerability to fraud by illegitimate Internet pharmacies.
Methods
Two Internet pharmacy websites, created specifically for this study, displayed multiple untrustworthy features modeled after five actual Internet drug sellers which the authors considered to be potentially dangerous to consumers. The websites had none of the safe pharmacy signs and nearly all of the danger signs specified in the Food and Drug Administration´s (FDA´s) guide to consumers. Participants were told that a neighborhood pharmacy charged US$165 for a one-month supply of Beozine, a bogus drug to ensure no pre-existing knowledge. After checking its price at two Internet pharmacies—$37.99 in pharmacy A and $57.60 in pharmacy B—the respondents were asked to indicate if each seller was a good place to buy the drug. Responses came from 1,914 undergraduate students who completed an online eHealth literacy assessment in 2005-2008. Participation rate was 78%.
Results
In response to "On a scale from 0-10, how good is this pharmacy as a place for buying Beozine?" many respondents gave favorable ratings. Specifically, 50% of students who reviewed pharmacy A and 37% of students who reviewed pharmacy B chose a rating above the scale midpoint. When explaining a low drug cost, these raters related it to low operation costs, ad revenue, pressure to lower costs due to comparison shopping, and/or high sales volume. Those who said that pharmacy A or B was "a very bad place" for purchasing the drug (25%), as defined by a score of 1 or less, related low drug cost to lack of regulation, low drug quality, and/or customer information sales. About 16% of students thought that people should be advised to buy cheaper drugs at pharmacies such as these but the majority (62%) suggested that people should be warned against buying drugs from such internet sellers. Over 22% of respondents would recommend pharmacy A to friends and family (10% pharmacy B). One-third of participants supplied online health information to others for decision-making purposes. After controlling for the effects of education, health major, and age, these respondents had significantly worse judgment of Internet pharmacies than those who did not act as information suppliers.
Conclusions
At least a quarter of students, including those in health programs, cannot see multiple signs of danger displayed by rogue Internet pharmacies. Many more are likely to be misled by online sellers that use professional design, veil untrustworthy features, and mimic reputable websites. Online health information consumers would benefit from education initiatives that (1) communicate why it can be dangerous to buy medications online and that (2) develop their information evaluation skills. This study highlights the importance of regulating rogue Internet pharmacies and curbing the danger they pose to consumers.
doi:10.2196/jmir.1520
PMCID: PMC2885783  PMID: 20439253
skill assessment,; health literacy; eHealth; health information skills; Internet pharmacies; counterfeit pharmaceuticals; cyberdrugs; cyberpharmacies
17.  Hospital pharmacists' participation in audit in the United Kingdom. 
Quality in Health Care  1993;2(4):228-231.
OBJECTIVE--To investigate systematically participation in audit of NHS hospital pharmacists in the United Kingdom. DESIGN--Questionnaire census survey. SETTING--All NHS hospital pharmacies in the UK providing clinical pharmacy services. SUBJECTS--462 hospital pharmacies. MAIN MEASURES--Extent and nature of participation in medical, clinical, and pharmacy audits according to hospital management and teaching status, educational level and specialisation of pharmacists, and perceived availability of resources. RESULTS--416 questionnaires were returned (response rate 90%). Pharmacists contributed to medical audit in 50% (204/410) of hospitals, pharmacy audit in 27% (108/404), and clinical audit in only 7% (29/404). Many pharmacies (59% (235/399)) were involved in one or more types of audit but few (4%, (15/399)) in all three. Participation increased in medical and pharmacy audits with trust status (medical audit: 57% (65/115) trust hospital v 47% (132/281) non-trust hospital; pharmacy audit: 34% (39/114) v 24% (65/276)) and teaching status (medical audit: 58% (60/104) teaching hospital v 47% (130/279) non-teaching hospital; pharmacy audit 30% (31/104) v 25% (68/273)) and similarly for highly qualified pharmacists (MPhil or PhD, MSc, diplomas) (medical audit: 54% (163/302) with these qualifications v 38% (39/103) without; pharmacy audit: 32% (95/298) v 13% (13/102)) and specialists pharmacists (medical audit: 61% (112/184) specialist v 41% (90/221) non-specialist; pharmacy audit: 37% (67/182) v 19% (41/218)). Pharmacies contributing to medical audit commonly provided financial information on drug use (86% 169/197). Pharmacy audits often concentrated on audit of clinical pharmacy services. CONCLUSION--Pharmacists are beginning to participate in the critical evaluation of health care, mainly in medical audit.
PMCID: PMC1055151  PMID: 10132456
18.  Medication Error Reporting Systems: A Survey of Canadian Intensive Care Units 
Background:
Patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) have complex problems and experience many medical errors. Currently, little is known about the measurement of medication errors and adverse drug events in Canadian ICUs.
Objective:
To investigate methods of measuring medication errors and adverse drug events in ICUs in Canada.
Methods:
A questionnaire was constructed and uploaded to an online survey tool, SurveyMonkey. Through the mailing list software of the Critical Care Pharmacy Specialty Network of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists, the survey was sent by e-mail to 146 pharmacists working in 79 ICUs across Canada; 2 reminder e-mails followed. The survey was open from July 18 to September 18, 2007.
Results:
A total of 34 individual responses were received from 31 (39%) of the 79 ICUs. Responses were from academic hospitals (11/31 [35%]), community teaching hospitals (9/31 [29%]), and community nonteaching hospitals (11/31 [35%]). Twenty-six (84%) of the 31 responding ICUs had a process for tracking medication errors and adverse drug events: non-anonymous voluntary reporting (19 or 73%), direct observation (14 or 54%), anonymous voluntary reporting (12 or 46%), chart review (6 or 23%), computerized system (3 or 12%), trigger tools (2 or 8%), pharmacist intervention (2 or 8%), and weekly ICU “safety huddles” (1 or 4%). Fourteen (54%) of the 26 ICUs that had a method of measuring medication errors and adverse drug events had implemented changes to address identified problems.
Conclusions:
Most respondents were measuring the frequency of medication errors and adverse drug events, but a wide variety of methods were in use. Only about half of the ICUs had implemented changes as a result of these measurements. There is an opportunity to improve standardization of the measurement of medication errors and adverse drug events in Canadian ICUs.
PMCID: PMC2832561  PMID: 22478949
medication safety; intensive care unit; reporting system; sécurité des médicaments; unité de soins intensifs; système de déclaration
19.  Improving pharmacy practice through public health programs: experience from Global HIV/AIDS initiative Nigeria project 
SpringerPlus  2013;2:525.
Background
The use of medicines is an essential component of many public health programs (PHPs). Medicines are important not only for their capacity to treat and prevent diseases. The public confidence in healthcare system is inevitably linked to their confidence in the availability of safe and effective medicines and the measures for ensuring their rational use. However, pharmacy services component receives little or no attention in most public health programs in developing countries. This article describes the strategies, lessons learnt, and some accomplishments of Howard University Pharmacists and Continuing Education (HU-PACE) Centre towards improving hospital pharmacy practice through PHP in Nigeria.
Method
In a cross-sectional survey, 60 hospital pharmacies were randomly selected from 184 GHAIN-supported health facilities. The assessment was conducted at baseline and repeated after at least 12 months post-intervention using a study-specific instrument. Interventions included engagement of stakeholders; provision of standards for infrastructural upgrade; development of curricula and modules for training of pharmacy personnel; provision of job aids and tools amongst others. A follow-up hands-on skill enhancement based on identified gaps was conducted. Chi-square was used for inferential statistics. All reported p-values were 2-tailed at 95% confidence interval.
Results
The mean duration of service provision at post-intervention assessment was 24.39 (95% CI, 21.70–27.08) months. About 16.7% of pharmacies reported been trained in HIV care at pre-intervention compared to 83.3% at post-intervention. The proportion of pharmacies with audio-visual privacy for patient counseling increased significantly from 30.9% at pre-intervention to 81.4% at post-intervention. Filled prescriptions were cross-checked by pharmacist (61.9%) and pharmacy technician (23.8%) before dispensing at pre-intervention compared to pharmacist (93.1%) and pharmacy technician (6.9%) at post intervention. 40.0% of pharmacies reported tracking consumption of drugs at pre-intervention compared to 98.3% at post-intervention; while 81.7% of pharmacies reported performing periodic stock reconciliation at pre-intervention compared to 100.0% at post-intervention. 36.5% of pharmacies were observed providing individual counseling on medication use to patients at pre-intervention compared to 73.2% at post-intervention; and 11.7% of pharmacies had evidence of monitoring and reporting of suspected adverse drug reaction at pre-intervention compared to 73.3% at post-intervention. The institution of access to patients’ clinical information by pharmacists in all pharmacies at post-intervention was a paradigm shift.
Conclusion
Through public health program, HU-PACE created an enabling environment and improved capacity of pharmacy personnel for quality HIV/AIDS and TB services. This has contributed in diverse ways to better monitoring of patients on pharmacotherapy by pharmacists through access of pharmacists to patients’ clinical information.
doi:10.1186/2193-1801-2-525
PMCID: PMC3824707  PMID: 24255831
Pharmaceutical care; HIV/AIDS; Public health programs; Patients; Nigeria
20.  A demonstration study comparing “role-emergent” versus “role-established” pharmacy clinical placement experiences in long-term care facilities 
BMC Medical Education  2013;13:104.
Background
Increasing challenges to recruit hospital sites with full-time on-site pharmacy preceptors for institutional-based Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE) has made it necessary to consider alternate experiential models. Sites with on-site discipline specific preceptors to supervise students have typically been referred to in the literature as “role-established” sites. In British Columbia, long-term care (LTC) facilities offered a unique opportunity to address placement capacity issues. However, since the majority of these facilities are serviced by off-site community pharmacists, this study was undertaken to explore the viability of supervising pharmacy students remotely – a model referred to in the literature as “role-emergent” placements. This paper’s objectives are to discuss pharmacy preceptors’ and LTC non-pharmacist staff experiences with this model.
Methods
The study consisted of three phases: (1) the development phase which included delivery of a training program to create a pool of potential LTC preceptors, (2) an evaluation phase to test the viability of the LTC role-emergent model with seven pharmacists (two role-established and five role-emergent) together with their LTC staff, and (3) expansion of LTC role-emergent sites to build capacity. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to obtain feedback from pharmacists and staff and t-tests and Mann–Whitney U tests were used to examine equivalency of survey outcomes from staff representing both models.
Results
The 76 pharmacists who completed the training program survey rated the modules as “largely” meeting their learning needs. All five role-emergent pharmacists and 29 LTC participating staff reported positive experiences with the pharmacy preceptor-student-staff collaboration. Preceptors reported that having students work side-by-side with facility staff promoted inter-professional collaboration. The staff viewed students’ presence as a mutually beneficial experience, suggesting that the students’ presence had enabled them to deliver better care to the residents. As a direct result of the study findings, the annual role-emergent placement capacity was increased to over 45 by the end of the study.
Conclusions
This study demonstrated that role-emergent LTC facilities were not only viable for quality institutional APPEs but also provided more available sites, greater student placement capacity, and more trained pharmacy preceptors than could be achieved in role-established facilities.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-104
PMCID: PMC3737056  PMID: 23915080
Residential care; Long-term care; Pharmacy; Clerkship; Clinical education; Clinical practice; Non-traditional clinical placements; Role-emergent; Role-emerging; Institutional; Experiential
21.  Patients’ perception, views and satisfaction with pharmacists’ role as health care provider in community pharmacy setting at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 
Objectives
This study will provide guiding information about the population perception, views and satisfaction with pharmacist’s performance as health care provider in the community pharmacy setting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Method
The study was conducted in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from July through December 2010. A total of 125 community pharmacies in Riyadh city were randomly selected according to their geographical distribution (north, south, east, and west). They represent about 10–15% of all community pharmacies in the city. The questionnaire composed of 8 items about patients’ views and satisfaction with the pharmacists’ role in the current community pharmacy practice. The questionnaire was coded, checked for accuracy and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17.0 for Windows (SPSS Inc., Chicago, Illinois).
Results
The response rate was almost 85% where 2000 patients were approached and 1699 of them responded to our questionnaire. The majority of respondents is young adults and adults (82.8%), male (67.5%) and married (66.9%). Seventy one percent of respondents assured that community pharmacist is available in the working while only 37.3% of respondents perceived the pharmacist as a mere vendor. About 38% assured sou moto counseling by the pharmacist, 35% reported pharmacist plays an active role in their compliances to treatments, 43% acknowledged the role of pharmacist in solving medication related problems, 34% considered the pharmacist as a health awareness provider and 44.6% felt that pharmacist is indispensable and an effective part of the health care system.
Conclusion
The image and professional performance of community pharmacist are improving in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi patients show better satisfaction, perception and appreciation of the pharmacists’ role in the health care team. However, extra efforts should be paid to improve the clinical skills of the community pharmacists. Community pharmacists need to be able to reach out to patient, assess their hesitations and promptly offer solution which was appreciated by the patients as the survey indicates. They should play a pro-active role in becoming an effective and indispensable part of health care. Furthermore, they should be able to advice, guide, direct and persuade the patient to comply correct usage of drugs. Finally, community pharmacists should equip themselves with appropriate knowledge and competencies in order to tender efficient and outstanding pharmaceutical health care.
doi:10.1016/j.jsps.2012.05.007
PMCID: PMC3745196  PMID: 23960807
Community; Pharmacist; Satisfaction; Care; Drug; Perception
22.  Roles and Responsibilities of Pharmacists with Respect to Natural Health Products: Key Informant Interviews 
Background
Although many pharmacies sell natural health products (NHPs), there is no clear definition as to the roles and responsibilities (if any) of pharmacists with respect to these products.
Objective
The purpose of this study was to explore pharmacy and stakeholder leaders’ perceptions of pharmacists’ professional NHP roles and responsibilities.
Methods
Semi-structured key informant interviews were conducted with pharmacy leaders (n= 17) and stakeholder (n=18) leaders representing consumers, complementary and alternative medicine practitioners, conventional healthcare practitioners, and industry across Canada.
Results
Overwhelmingly all participants believed a main NHP responsibility for pharmacists was safety monitoring. One challenge identified in the interviews was pharmacists’ general lack of NHP knowledge. Stakeholder leaders did not expect pharmacists to be experts on NHPs, rather that pharmacists should have a basic level of knowledge about NHPs. Many pharmacy leaders appeared to be unfamiliar with current pharmacy policies and guidelines concerning NHPs.
Conclusion
Participants described pharmacists’ professional roles and responsibilities for NHPs as similar to those for over-the-counter drugs. More awareness of existing NHP-related pharmacy policies is needed. Pharmacy owners/managers should provide additional training to ensure front-line pharmacists have appropriate knowledge of NHPs sold in the pharmacy.
doi:10.1016/j.sapharm.2009.02.004
PMCID: PMC2923149  PMID: 20188329 CAMSID: cams1316
natural health products; pharmacists; professional roles and responsibilities
23.  A Needs Assessment Study of Hospital Pharmacy Residency Preceptors 
Background:
Canadian pharmacy residency programs rely on preceptors to support the growing demand of graduates wishing to pursue hospital residencies. Understanding the educational needs of these preceptors is important to ensure that they are well prepared to deliver successful programs.
Objective:
To determine what new and experienced residency preceptors self-identify as learning needs in order to become more effective preceptors for pharmacy residents.
Methods:
A needs assessment of preceptors from the 31 accredited Canadian general hospital pharmacy residency programs was conducted. The study had 4 key components: interviews and focus group discussions with key informants, a pilot study, an online survey, and member checking (seeking clarification and further explanation from study participants). The residency coordinators and a convenience sample of 5 preceptors from each program were invited to participate in the survey component.
Results:
Of a possible 186 participants, 132 (71%) responded to the survey. Of these, 128 (97%) were confident that they met the 2010 standards of the Canadian Hospital Pharmacy Residency Board (CHPRB). Preceptors ranked communication skills, giving effective feedback, and clinical knowledge as the most important elements of being an effective preceptor. Managing workload, performing evaluations, and dealing with difficult residents were commonly reported challenges. Preceptors expressed a preference for interactive workshops and mentorship programs with experienced colleagues when first becoming preceptors, followed by 1-day training sessions or online learning modules every other year for ongoing educational support. The most beneficial support topics selected were providing constructive feedback, practical assessment strategies, small-group teaching strategies, effective communication skills, and setting goals and objectives.
Conclusions:
This study identified several learning needs of hospital residency preceptors and showed that preceptors would appreciate educational support. Utilization of these results by residency program administrators, the CHPRB, and faculties of pharmacy could be beneficial for residency programs across Canada.
PMCID: PMC3379827  PMID: 22783031
hospital pharmacy residency; preceptor; preceptor development; pharmacy education; résidence en pharmacie d’hôpital; précepteur; perfectionnement des précepteurs; enseignement de la pharmacie
24.  The prevalence and experience of Australian naturopaths and Western herbalists working within community pharmacies 
Background
Naturopaths and Western herbal medicine (WHM) practitioners were surveyed to identify their extent, experience and roles within the community pharmacy setting and to explore their attitudes to integration of complementary medicine (CM) practitioners within the pharmacy setting.
Method
Practising naturopaths and WHM practitioners were invited to participate in an anonymous, self-administered, on-line survey. Participants were recruited using the mailing lists and websites of CM manufacturers and professional associations.
Results
479 practitioners participated. 24% of respondents (n = 111) reported they had worked in community pharmacy, three-quarters for less than 5 years. Whilst in this role 74% conducted specialist CMs sales, 62% short customer consultations, 52% long consultations in a private room and 51% staff education. This was generally described as a positive learning experience and many appreciated the opportunity to utilise their specialist knowledge in the service of both customers and pharmacy staff. 14% (n = 15) did not enjoy the experience of working in pharmacy at all and suggested pharmacist attitude largely influenced whether the experience was positive or not. Few practitioners were satisfied with the remuneration received. 44% of the total sample provided comment on the issue of integration into pharmacy, with the main concern being the perceived incommensurate paradigms of practice between pharmacy and naturopathy. Of the total sample, 38% reported that they would consider working as a practitioner in retail pharmacy in future.
Conclusions
The level of integration of CM into pharmacy is extending beyond the mere stocking of supplements. Naturopaths and Western Herbalists are becoming utilised in pharmacies
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-41
PMCID: PMC3128856  PMID: 21600060
25.  e-Health, m-Health and healthier social media reform: the big scale view 
Introduction
In the upcoming decade, digital platforms will be the backbone of a strategic revolution in the way medical services are provided, affecting both healthcare providers and patients. Digital-based patient-centered healthcare services allow patients to actively participate in managing their own care, in times of health as well as illness, using personally tailored interactive tools. Such empowerment is expected to increase patients’ willingness to adopt actions and lifestyles that promote health as well as improve follow-up and compliance with treatment in cases of chronic illness. Clalit Health Services (CHS) is the largest HMO in Israel and second largest world-wide. Through its 14 hospitals, 1300 primary and specialized clinics, and 650 pharmacies, CHS provides comprehensive medical care to the majority of Israel’s population (above 4 million members). CHS e-Health wing focuses on deepening patient involvement in managing health, through personalized digital interactive tools. Currently, CHS e-Health wing provides e-health services for 1.56 million unique patients monthly with 2.4 million interactions every month (August 2011). Successful implementation of e-Health solutions is not a sum of technology, innovation and health; rather it’s the expertise of tailoring knowledge and leadership capabilities in multidisciplinary areas: clinical, ethical, psychological, legal, comprehension of patient and medical team engagement etc. The Google Health case excellently demonstrates this point. On the other hand, our success with CHS is a demonstration that e-Health can be enrolled effectively and fast with huge benefits for both patients and medical teams, and with a robust business model.
CHS e-Health core components
They include:
1. The personal health record layer (what the patient can see) presents patients with their own medical history as well as the medical history of their preadult children, including diagnoses, allergies, vaccinations, laboratory results with interpretations in layman’s terms, medications with clear, straightforward explanations regarding dosing instructions, important side effects, contraindications, such as lactation etc., and other important medical information. All personal e-Health services require identification and authorization.
2. The personal knowledge layer (what the patient should know) presents patients with personally tailored recommendations for preventative medicine and health promotion. For example, diabetic patients are push notified regarding their yearly eye exam. The various health recommendations include: occult blood testing, mammography, lipid profile etc. Each recommendation contains textual, visual and interactive content components in order to promote engagement and motivate the patient to actually change his health behaviour.
3. The personal health services layer (what the patient can do) enables patients to schedule clinic visits, order chronic prescriptions, e-consult their physician via secured e-mail, set SMS medication reminders, e-consult a pharmacist regarding personal medications. Consultants’ answers are sent securely to the patients’ personal mobile device.
On December 2009 CHS launched secured, web based, synchronous medical consultation via video conference. Currently 11,780 e-visits are performed monthly (May 2011). The medical encounter includes e-prescription and referral capabilities which are biometrically signed by the physician. On December 2010 CHS launched a unique mobile health platform, which is one of the most comprehensive personal m-Health applications world-wide. An essential advantage of mobile devices is their potential to bridge the digital divide. Currently, CHS m-Health platform is used by more than 45,000 unique users, with 75,000 laboratory results views/month, 1100 m-consultations/month and 9000 physician visit scheduling/month.
4. The Bio-Sensing layer (what physiological data the patient can populate) includes diagnostic means that allow remote physical examination, bio-sensors that broadcast various physiological measurements, and smart homecare devices, such as e-Pill boxes that gives seniors, patients and their caregivers the ability to stay at home and live life to its fullest. Monitored data is automatically transmitted to the patient’s Personal Health Record and to relevant medical personnel.
The monitoring layer is embedded in the chronic disease management platform, and in the interactive health promotion and wellness platform. It includes tailoring of consumer-oriented medical devices and service provided by various professional personnel—physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dieticians and more.
5. The Social layer (what the patient can share). Social media networks triggered an essential change at the humanity ‘genome’ level, yet to be further defined in the upcoming years. Social media has huge potential in promoting health as it combines fun, simple yet extraordinary user experience, and bio-social-feedback. There are two major challenges in leveraging health care through social networks:
a. Our personal health information is the cornerstone for personalizing healthier lifestyle, disease management and preventative medicine. We naturally see our personal health data as a super-private territory. So, how do we bring the power of our private health information, currently locked within our Personal Health Record, into social media networks without offending basic privacy issues?
b. Disease management and preventive medicine are currently neither considered ‘cool’ nor ‘fun’ or ‘potentially highly viral’ activities; yet, health is a major issue of everybody’s life. It seems like we are missing a crucial element with a huge potential in health behavioural change—the Fun Theory. Social media platforms comprehends user experience tools that potentially could break current misconception, and engage people in the daily task of taking better care of themselves.
CHS e-Health innovation team characterized several break-through applications in this unexplored territory within social media networks, fusing personal health and social media platforms without offending privacy. One of the most crucial issues regarding adoption of e-health and m-health platforms is change management. Being a ‘hot’ innovative ‘gadget’ is far from sufficient for changing health behaviours at the individual and population levels.
CHS health behaviour change management methodology includes 4 core elements:
1. Engaging two completely different populations: patients, and medical teams. e-Health applications must present true added value for both medical teams and patients, engaging them through understanding and assimilating “what’s really in it for me”. Medical teams are further subdivided into physicians, nurses, pharmacists and administrative personnel—each with their own driving incentive. Resistance to change is an obstacle in many fields but it is particularly true in the conservative health industry. To successfully manage a large scale persuasive process, we treat intra-organizational human resources as “Change Agents”. Harnessing the persuasive power of ~40,000 employees requires engaging them as the primary target group. Successful recruitment has the potential of converting each patient-medical team interaction into an exposure opportunity to the new era of participatory medicine via e-health and m-health channels.
2. Implementation waves: every group of digital health products that are released at the same time are seen as one project. Each implementation wave leverages the focus of the organization and target populations to a defined time span. There are three major and three minor implementation waves a year.
3. Change-Support Arrow: a structured infrastructure for every implementation wave. The sub-stages in this strategy include:
Cross organizational mapping and identification of early adopters and stakeholders relevant to the implementation wave
Mapping positive or negative perceptions and designing specific marketing approaches for the distinct target groups
Intra and extra organizational marketing
Conducting intensive training and presentation sessions for groups of implementers
Running conflict-prevention activities, such as advanced tackling of potential union resistance
Training change-agents with resistance-management behavioural techniques, focused intervention for specific incidents and for key opinion leaders
Extensive presence in the clinics during the launch period, etc.
The entire process is monitored and managed continuously by a review team.
4. Closing Phase: each wave is analyzed and a “lessons-learned” session concludes the changes required in the modus operandi of the e-health project team.
PMCID: PMC3571141
e-Health; mobile health; personal health record; online visit; patient empowerment; knowledge prescription

Results 1-25 (582010)