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.
The purpose of this study was to explore pharmacy and stakeholder leaders’ perceptions of pharmacists’ professional NHP roles and responsibilities.
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.
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.
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.
PMID: 20188329 CAMSID: cams1316
natural health products; pharmacists; professional roles and responsibilities
Aims and Objectives
Many natural health products (NHPs) and dietary supplements (DS) are purchased in pharmacies and it has been argued that pharmacists are in the best position to provide patients with evidence-based information about them. This study was designed to identify how the pharmacist’s role with respect to NHPs/DS is portrayed in the literature.
A systematic search was conducted in a variety of health databases to identify all literature that pertained to both pharmacy and NHPs/DS. Of the 786 articles identified, 665 were broad-coded and 259 were subjected to in-depth qualitative content analysis for emergent themes.
Overwhelmingly, support for the sale of NHPs/DS in pharmacies is strong. Additionally, a role for pharmacists in NHP/DS counselling is underscored. But another recurrent theme is that pharmacists are ill-equipped to counsel patients about these products that are available on their shelves. This situation has led some to question the ethics of pharmacists selling NHPs/DS and to highlight the existence of an ethical conflict stemming from the profit-motive associated with NHP/DS sales.
This analysis raises concerns about the ethics of NHPs/DS being sold in pharmacies, and about pharmacists being expected to counsel about products of which they have little knowledge.
PMID: 20218027 CAMSID: cams1317
Natural health products (natural health products) such as herbs, vitamins and homeopathic medicines are widely available in Canadian pharmacies. The purpose of this paper was to conduct a systematic analysis of Canadian pharmacy policies and guidelines to explore pharmacists’ professional responsibilities with respect to natural health products.
Legislation, codes of ethics, standards of practice and guidance documents that apply to the practice of pharmacy in each Canadian jurisdiction were systematically collected and examined to identify if, and how, these instruments establish professional duties in regard to natural health products.
The majority of Canadian jurisdictions now include some explicit reference to natural health products in standards of practice policy or guideline documents. Often natural health products are simply assumed to be included in the over-the-counter (OTC) product category and thus professional responsibilities for OTCs are relevant for natural health products. A minority of provinces have specific policies on natural health products, herbals or homeopathy. In addition, the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities’ Model Standards of Practice specifically refers to natural health products. Most policy documents indicate that pharmacists should inquire about natural health product use when counselling patients and, when asked, should provide accurate information regarding the efficacy, toxicity, side effects or interactions of natural health products. Public messaging also indicates that pharmacists are knowledgeable professionals who can provide evidence-based information about natural health products.
Explicit policies or guidelines regarding pharmacists’ professional responsibilities with respect to natural health products currently exist in the majority of Canadian jurisdictions.
PMID: 22282720 CAMSID: cams1356
pharmacist; legal responsibilities; natural health products; dietary supplements
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.
To conduct a qualitative and semiquantitative analysis of hospital pharmacists’ perceptions of their role in patient care.
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.
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%).
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.
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
Expanded pharmacist prescribing is a new professional practice area for pharmacists. Currently, Australian pharmacists’ prescribing role is limited to over-the-counter medications. This review aims to identify Australian studies involving the area of expanded pharmacist prescribing. Australian studies exploring the issues of pharmacist prescribing were identified and considered in the context of its implementation internationally. Australian studies have mainly focused on the attitudes of community and hospital pharmacists towards such an expansion. Studies evaluating the views of Australian consumers and pharmacy clients were also considered. The available Australian literature indicated support from pharmacists and pharmacy clients for an expanded pharmacist prescribing role, with preference for doctors retaining a primary role in diagnosis. Australian pharmacists and pharmacy client’s views were also in agreement in terms of other key issues surrounding expanded pharmacist prescribing. These included the nature of an expanded prescribing model, the need for additional training for pharmacists and the potential for pharmacy clients gaining improved medication access, which could be achieved within an expanded role that pharmacists could provide. Current evidence from studies conducted in Australia provides valuable insight to relevant policymakers on the issue of pharmacist prescribing in order to move the agenda of pharmacist prescribing forwards.
Pharmacist prescribing; Australia; pharmacy clients; Australian pharmacy; non-medical prescribing
In 2007, because of a potential interaction between ceftriaxone and calcium-containing IV solutions, Roche Laboratories (manufacturer of Rocephin [ceftriaxone] in the United States) issued letters to health care professionals advising them of changes to the product monograph. Subsequently, warning letters were also issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada. The Health Canada recommendations and their implications for clinical practice generated debate in the Canadian hospital pharmacy community.
To evaluate the response to the warnings among hospital pharmacists and their respective institutions.
An anonymous, voluntary 10-question survey was distributed to members of the Pharmacy Specialty Networks of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists. Requests to participate were solicited via 2 e-mail messages. Responses were analyzed descriptively.
A total of 152 pharmacists participated in the survey. Forty-three respondents (28.3%) reported being very concerned and 86 (56.6%) reported being somewhat concerned about the Health Canada Notice to Hospitals. About half (77/152 [50.7%]) of the respondents felt that the Health Canada notice did not need to be strictly heeded. Two-thirds (98/145 [67.6%]) reported that their institutions had addressed the risk of an interaction through a change in policy regarding the administration of ceftriaxone. Eighty-eight (61.5%) of 143 participants indicated that their institution’s official position on the notice was that it represented a “relative contraindication” (i.e., the benefit may outweigh the risk).
Warning letters issued by the manufacturer, the FDA, and Health Canada generated concern within the Canadian hospital pharmacy community. However, a large proportion of hospital pharmacy practitioners did not agree with strict adherence to the Health Canada notice.
ceftriaxone; calcium; administration; precipitation; ceftriaxone; calcium; administration; précipitation
Pharmacies are venues in which patients seek out products and professional advice in order to improve overall health. However, many pharmacies in the United States continue to sell tobacco products, which are widely known to cause detrimental health effects. This conflict presents a challenge to pharmacists, who are becoming increasingly more involved in patient health promotion activities. This study sought to assess Western New York (WNY) area pharmacists’ opinions about the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies, and pharmacists’ opinions on their role in patient smoking cessation.
Participants responded to two parallel surveys; a web-based survey was completed by 148 university-affiliated pharmacist preceptors via a list based sample, and a mail-based survey was completed by the supervising pharmacist in 120 area pharmacies via a list-based sample. The combined response rate for both surveys was 31%. Univariate and bivariate analyses were performed to determine any significant differences between the preceptor and supervising pharmacist survey groups.
Over 75% of respondents support legislation banning the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies. Over 86% of respondents would prefer to work in a pharmacy that does not sell tobacco products. Differences between preceptor and supervising pharmacist groups were observed. Action regarding counseling patients was uncommon among both groups.
Pharmacists support initiatives that increase their role in cessation counseling and initiatives that restrict the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies. These data could have important implications for communities and pharmacy practice.
Tobacco sales; Pharmacists; Preceptors; Public health policy; Survey research; Pharmacies
Many consumers use natural health products (NHPs) concurrently with prescription medications. As NHP-related harms are under-reported through passive surveillance, the safety of concurrent NHP-drug use remains unknown. To conduct active surveillance in participating community pharmacies to identify adverse events related to concurrent NHP-prescription drug use.
Participating pharmacists asked individuals collecting prescription medications about (i) concurrent NHP/drug use in the previous three months and (ii) experiences of adverse events. If an adverse event was identified and if the patient provided written consent, a research pharmacist conducted a guided telephone interview to gather additional information after obtaining additional verbal consent and documenting so within the interview form. Over a total of 112 pharmacy weeks, 2615 patients were screened, of which 1037 (39.7%; 95% CI: 37.8% to 41.5%) reported concurrent NHP and prescription medication use. A total of 77 patients reported a possible AE (2.94%; 95% CI: 2.4% to 3.7%), which represents 7.4% of those using NHPs and prescription medications concurrently (95%CI: 6.0% to 9.2%). Of 15 patients available for an interview, 4 (26.7%: 95% CI: 4.3% to 49.0%) reported an AE that was determined to be “probably” due to NHP use.
Active surveillance markedly improves identification and reporting of adverse events associated with concurrent NHP-drug use. Although not without challenges, active surveillance is feasible and can generate adverse event data of sufficient quality to allow for meaningful adjudication to assess potential harms.
Homeopathy has been the cause of much debate in the scientific literature with respect to the plausibility and efficacy of homeopathic preparations and practice. Nonetheless, many consumers, pharmacists, physicians, and other health care providers continue to use or practice homeopathic medicine and advocate its safety and efficacy. As drug experts, pharmacists are expected to be able to counsel their patients on how to safely and effectively use medications, which technically includes homeopathic products. Yet many pharmacists feel that the homeopathic system of medicine is based on unscientific theories that lack supporting evidence. Since consumers continue to use homeopathic products, it is necessary for pharmacists to have a basic knowledge of homeopathy and to be able to counsel patients about its general use, the current state of the evidence and its use in conjunction with other medications.
homeopathy; pharmacist; education; complimentary and alternative medicine
The role of community pharmacists in disease state management has been mooted for some years. Despite a number of trials of disease state management services, there is scant literature into the engagement of, and with, pharmacists in such trials. This paper reports pharmacists’ feedback as providers of a Pharmacy Asthma Management Service (PAMS), a trial coordinated across four academic research centres in Australia in 2009. We also propose recommendations for optimal involvement of pharmacists in academic research.
Feedback about the pharmacists’ experiences was sought via their participation in either a focus group or telephone interview (for those unable to attend their scheduled focus group) at one of three time points. A semi-structured interview guide focused discussion on the pharmacists’ training to provide the asthma service, their interactions with health professionals and patients as per the service protocol, and the future for this type of service. Focus groups were facilitated by two researchers, and the individual interviews were shared between three researchers, with data transcribed verbatim and analysed manually.
Of 93 pharmacists who provided the PAMS, 25 were involved in a focus group and seven via telephone interview. All pharmacists approached agreed to provide feedback. In general, the pharmacists engaged with both the service and research components, and embraced their roles as innovators in the trial of a new service. Some experienced challenges in the recruitment of patients into the service and the amount of research-related documentation, and collaborative patient-centred relationships with GPs require further attention. Specific service components, such as the spirometry, were well received by the pharmacists and their patients. Professional rewards included satisfaction from their enhanced practice, and pharmacists largely envisaged a future for the service.
The PAMS provided pharmacists an opportunity to become involved in an innovative service delivery model, supported by the researchers, yet trained and empowered to implement the clinical service throughout the trial period and beyond. The balance between support and independence appeared crucial in the pharmacists’ engagement with the trial. Their feedback was overwhelmingly positive, while useful suggestions were identified for future academic trials.
Pharmacy; Asthma; Disease management service; Experiences; Feedback
Although dietary supplements (DS) are widely sold in pharmacies, the legal, ethical, and practice responsibilities of pharmacists with respect to these products have not been well defined. This systematic review of pharmacists' attitudes, knowledge, and professional practice behaviours toward DS is intended to inform pharmacy regulators' and educators' decision making around this topic.
Eligible studies were identified through a systematic database search for all available years through to March 2006. Articles were analyzed for this review if they included survey data on U.S. or Canadian pharmacists' attitudes, knowledge, or professional practice behaviors toward DS published in 1990 or later.
Due to the heterogeneity of the data, it was not possible to draw a conclusion with respect to pharmacists' general attitudes toward DS. Approximately equal numbers of pharmacists report positive as well as negative attitudes about the safety and efficacy of DS. There is strong agreement among pharmacists for the need to have additional training on DS, increased regulation of DS, and quality information on DS. In addition, survey data indicate that pharmacists do not perceive their knowledge of DS to be adequate and that pharmacists do not routinely document, monitor, or inquire about patients' use of DS. Despite this, a large proportion of pharmacists reported receiving questions about DS from patients and other health care practitioners.
Further research is needed to explore the factors that influence pharmacists' beliefs and attitudes about DS, to accurately evaluate pharmacists' knowledge of DS, and to uncover the reasons why pharmacists do not routinely document, monitor, or inquire about patients' use of DS.
Natural health products (NHP) use may have implications with respect to adverse effects, drug interactions and adherence yet the prevalence of NHP use by patients with acute cardiovascular disease and the best method to ascertain this information is unknown.
To identify the best method to ascertain information on NHP, and the prevalence of use in a population with acute cardiovascular disease.
Structured interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of consecutive patients admitted with acute cardiovascular disease to the University of Alberta Hospital during January 2009. NHP use was explored using structured and open-ended questions based on Health Canada's definition of NHP. The medical record was reviewed, and documentation of NHP use by physicians, nurses, and pharmacists, compared against the gold-standard structured interview.
88 patients were interviewed (mean age 62 years, standard deviation [SD 14]; 80% male; 41% admitted for acute coronary syndromes). Common co-morbidities included hypertension (59%), diabetes (26%) and renal impairment (19%). NHP use was common (78% of patients) and 75% of NHP users reported daily use. The category of NHP most commonly used was vitamins and minerals (73%) followed by herbal products (20%), traditional medicines including Chinese medicines (9%), homeopathic preparations (1%) and other products including amino acids, essential fatty acids and probiotics (35%). In a multivariable model, only older age was associated with increased NHP use (OR 1.5 per age decile [95%CI 1.03 to 2.2]). When compared to the interview, the highest rate of NHP documentation was the pharmacist history (41%). NHP were documented in 22% of patients by the physician and 19% by the nurse.
NHP use is common in patients admitted with acute cardiovascular disease. However, health professionals do not commonly identify NHP as part of the medication profile despite its potential importance. Structured interview appears to be the best method to accurately identify patient use of NHP.
To assess the pharmacy profession's perceptions of tobacco sales in US pharmacies and explore whether a policy prohibiting sales of tobacco in pharmacies would alter adult consumer shopping behaviour.
Subjects and design
In California, surveys were administered to 1168 licensed pharmacists and 1518 pharmacy students, and telephone interviews were conducted with 988 adult consumers.
Most (58.1%) licensed pharmacists were strongly against sales of tobacco in pharmacies, 23.6% were against it, 16.7% were neutral, 1.2% were in favour of it, and 0.4% were strongly in favour of it. Pharmacists who were current tobacco users were more likely to be in favour of tobacco sales in pharmacies than were pharmacists who were current non‐users (p < 0.005). Similar statistics were observed for pharmacy students. Most consumers (72.3%) disagreed with the statement, “I am in favour of tobacco products being sold in drugstores”; 82.6% stated that if the drugstore where they most commonly shopped were to stop selling tobacco products, they would shop there just as often, 14.2% would shop there more often, and 3.2% would shop there less often.
Little professional or public support exists for tobacco sales in pharmacies.
health professional; pharmacist; pharmacy; tobacco sales
Consumers may seek health advice from health food store employees (HFSEs) and pharmacists. Delays in the diagnosis of time-critical illnesses may increase the likelihood of morbidity, mortality and healthcare expenditures.
To describe the information provided by HFSEs and pharmacists for symptoms of undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes.
A standardized actor portrayed a consumer with symptoms of Type 1 diabetes at eight community pharmacies and 12 health food stores (HFSs) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Chapel Hill and Durham, North Carolina. He inquired about potential diagnoses, the need to see a physician, and product recommendations.
The subjects included twelve HFSEs and eight licensed pharmacists.
Four of eight (50%) pharmacists and two of 12 (17%) HFSEs mentioned diabetes as a potential diagnosis. Although six pharmacists recommended urgent physician follow-up, only two HFSEs did so; two HFSEs explicitly advised against a physician visit. One pharmacist recommended a product. Nine HFSEs recommended at least one product (monthly costs, range: $24.70–$209.96).
Even when presented with classic symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, under-recognition of diabetes was common among HFSEs and community pharmacists. Delays in treatment present a health risk to consumers. Further research could confirm these results and inform educational interventions to improve diabetes recognition by both groups.
diabetes mellitus; advice giving; complementary and alternative medicine; health food stores; pharmacists
In recent years, the focus of pharmacists as traditional drug dispensers has shifted to more active and participative role in risk assessment, risk management, and other medication related consultation activities. Pharmacy profession is evolving steadily in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Pharmacists in UAE are so much occupied in their administrative and managerial duties that dispensing is mostly attended to by pharmacy technicians. Pharmacist-led patient counseling is limited to the dosage and frequency of medications and rarely adverse reactions and drug interactions with other medications. Therefore we decided to perform quantitative questionnaires study to explore the role of pharmacist in patient counseling in UAE, the evaluation of pharmacist's opinion on patient counseling and the potential determinants of personal consultation. Results show the frequency and nature of inquiries received by pharmacist. Five to twenty inquires per month are received from patient, most of them related to drug prescription and dose recommendation. Thirty nine percent of pharmacists received inquiries from doctors, most of them related to the dose and mode of action. Ninty two percent of the pharmacists agreed that patient counseling is their professional responsibility. About 82% of pharmacists agreed that counseling will increase their sales and enhance the reputation of their pharmacies. Seventy percent of pharmacists mentioned that they need to undergo training for effective counseling while 46% of pharmacists felt that more staff in the pharmacies would have a positive influence on patient compliance to medication therapies and patient safety. The potential determinants of personal consultation show that 52% of participants trusted pharmacist and 55% considered the pharmacist as a friend. Forty eight percent of participants visited the pharmacy for medical recommendation while 30% for drug compounding, 72% agreed that pharmacist conducts full instruction while 31% agreed about full investigation. In conclusion, reorganization of the pharmacist's activities may improve pharmaceutical consultations. Pharmacists must be exposed to recent trends in drug therapy, dosage forms, dosage, adverse effects and interaction. This will go a long way in providing rational use of drugs to the patients and improve their quality of life.
Attitudes and behaviors; community pharmacists; patient counseling; patient information leaflets; personal consultation
This study aims to investigate the knowledge and attitudes among pharmacists in Oman towards the specific use and knowledge of herbal drugs.
The study was conducted on 100 pharmacists employed in Oman. The data was collected using two self- administered questionnaire containing 7 and 11 closed ended questions in each, respectively.
The mean age of pharmacists was 32.6 (SD=5.6) years. The majority of pharmacists were interested in herbal information and their herbal information mainly comes from their previous classes during college. Most of them have belief on the effectiveness of herbal products. Pharmacists were more knowledgeable on specific therapeutic indications of herbal products rather than on other areas such as drug- herb interaction or side effects.
In summary, Pharmacists need to be informed on the therapeutic indications, drug interactions, dose, active constituent and precautions of herbal products. Concerned bodies must also provide them with regular continuing education programs apart from putting their effects to incorporate relevant topics in herbal medicine in pharmacy curriculum.
Herbal drugs; Herb-drug interaction; Pharmaceutical care
Pharmacy could serve as a model for the health informationist profession proposed by Davidoff and Florance in their 2000 editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The current training and practice roles for pharmacists suggest a way to prepare health sciences librarians for work with clinical health care teams. The influences that spurred the transformation of pharmacy parallel in many respects those suggesting the need for more information professionals prepared to practice in clinical health care settings. During the same decades that health sciences librarians have been debating and experimenting with new professional roles such as clinical medical librarians, pharmacy has undergone an intensive review of its core values, mission, practice roles, and educational preparation methods. Until recently, most pharmacists graduated from five-year baccalaureate programs preparing them to understand drug products, sources of supply, and effective ways to dispense them to patients as prescribed by physicians. Today, almost all pharmacy students graduate from six-year doctor of pharmacy programs that prepare them to be the primary providers of what their profession calls “pharmaceutical care.” The pharmaceutical care model suggests that health information professionals in clinical settings could be educated and trained to provide what we might call health information care.
Background: Injection drug use and other high-risk behaviours are the cause of significant morbidity and mortality and thus have been the focus of many health promotion strategies. Community pharmacists are considered underutilized health providers and are often thought to be more accessible than other health professionals. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of community pharmacists' practices as well as pharmacists' attitudes and identified barriers toward providing harm reduction services. We will highlight the major harm reduction services being offered through community pharmacies, as well as identify barriers to implementing these services.
Methods: A review of the literature from 1995 to 2011 was conducted using the electronic databases MEDLINE, PubMed and Scopus, encompassing pharmacists' involvement in harm reduction services. Keywords included pharmacist, harm reduction, disease prevention, health promotion, attitudes, competence and barriers. References of included articles were examined to identify further relevant literature.
Results: Pharmacists are primarily involved in providing clean needles to injection drug users, as well as opioid substitution. Pharmacists generally have a positive attitude toward providing health promotion and harm reduction programs and express some interest in increasing their role in this area. Common barriers to expanding harm reduction strategies in community pharmacists' practice include lack of time and training, insufficient remuneration, fear of attracting unruly clientele and inadequate communication between health providers.
Conclusion: As one of the most accessible health care providers, community pharmacists are in an ideal position to provide meaningful services to injection drug users. However, in order to do so, pharmacists require additional support in the form of better health team and system integration, as well as remuneration models.
Cancer patients are increasingly known to use complementary medicine (cam) during conventional treatment, but data are limited on how Canadian oncology health professionals attempt to assist patients with their use of cam in the context of conventional cancer care. As part of a larger qualitative study assessing the perceptions of Canadian oncology health professionals regarding integrated breast cancer care, we undertook an exploration of current integrative practices of oncology health professionals.
Using an interpretive description research design and a purposive sampling, we conducted a series of in-depth qualitative interviews with various oncology health professionals recruited from provincial cancer agencies, hospitals, integrative clinics, and private practice settings in four Canadian cities: Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montreal, and Halifax. A total of 16 oncology health professionals participated, including medical and radiation oncologists, nurses, and pharmacists.
Findings highlighted two main strategies used by oncology health professionals to create a more integrative approach for cancer patients:
acting as an integrative care guide, and collaborating with other health professionals.
Although few clear standards of practice or guidance material were in place within their organizational settings, health professionals discussed some integrative roles that they had adopted, depending on interest, knowledge, and skills, in supporting patients with cam decisions. Given that cancer patients report that they want to be able to confer with their conventional health professionals, particularly their oncologists, about their cam use, health professionals who elect to adopt integrative practices are likely offering patients much-welcomed support.
Oncology health professionals; integrative cancer care; qualitative research; complementary therapies
Pharmacists' roles are evolving from that of compounders and dispensers of medicines to that of experts on medicines within multidisciplinary health care teams. In the developing country context, the pharmacy is often the most accessible or even the sole point of access to health care advice and services.
Because of their knowledge of medicines and clinical therapeutics, pharmacists are suitably placed for task shifting in health care and could be further trained to undertake functions such as clinical management and laboratory diagnostics. Indeed, pharmacists have been shown to be willing, competent, and cost-effective providers of what the professional literature calls "pharmaceutical care interventions"; however, internationally, there is an underuse of pharmacists for patient care and public health efforts. A coordinated and multifaceted effort to advance workforce planning, training and education is needed in order to prepare an adequate number of well-trained pharmacists for such roles.
Acknowledging that health care needs can vary across geography and culture, an international group of key stakeholders in pharmacy education and global health has reached unanimous agreement that pharmacy education must be quality-driven and directed towards societal health care needs, the services required to meet those needs, the competences necessary to provide these services and the education needed to ensure those competences. Using that framework, this commentary describes the Pharmacy Education Taskforce of the World Health Organization, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the International Pharmaceutical Federation Global Pharmacy and the Education Action Plan 2008–2010, including the foundation, domains, objectives and outcome measures, and includes several examples of current activities within this scope.
There is a national focus on electronic health records (EHRs) and health information exchange to improve quality, efficiency, and safety across healthcare settings. The purpose of this study is to describe pharmacists' views and practices about the adoption and use of EHRs and the sharing of health information by pharmacists in the state of Nebraska. A U.S. mail survey of all pharmacists holding a Nebraska license (N = 1,953) was conducted in June-August 2008. Only 12 percent of pharmacists indicated using an EHR. Most pharmacists (63 percent) indicated that their pharmacy had no plans to adopt an EHR system, while 13 percent indicated their pharmacy planned to adopt an EHR system in the future. Only 8 percent of respondents currently had access to EHRs for their patients created by other providers. Despite a national focus on electronic health information exchange, there remains a low uptake of EHRs by pharmacists.
electronic health record; pharmacy record; electronic medical record; health information exchange; health information technology; Nationwide Health Information Network
The use of natural health products, such as vitamins, minerals, and herbs, by Canadians has been increasing with time. As a result of consumer concern about the quality of these products, the Canadian Department of Health created the Natural Health Products (NHP) Regulations. The new Canadian regulations raise questions about whether and how the NHP industry will be able to comply and what impact they will have on market structure. The objectives of this study were to explore who in the interview sample is complying with Canada's new NHP Regulations (i.e., submitted product licensing applications on time); and explore the factors that affect regulatory compliance.
Twenty key informant interviews were conducted with employees of the NHP industry. The structured interviews focused on the level of satisfaction with the Regulations and perceptions of compliance and non-compliance. Interviews were tape recorded and then transcribed verbatim. Data were independently coded, using qualitative content analysis. Team meetings were held after every three to four interviews to discuss emerging themes.
The major finding of this study is that most (17 out of 20) companies interviewed were beginning to comply with the new regulatory regime. The factors that contribute to likelihood of regulatory compliance were: perceptions and knowledge of the regulations and business size.
The Canadian case can be instructive for other countries seeking to implement regulatory standards for natural health products. An unintended consequence of the Canadian NHP regulations may be the exit of smaller firms, leading to industry consolidation.
The increasing involvement of pharmacists in public health will require changes in the behaviour of both pharmacists and the general public. A great deal of research has shown that attitudes and beliefs are important determinants of behaviour. This review aims to examine the beliefs and attitudes of pharmacists and consumers towards pharmaceutical public health in order to inform how best to support and improve this service.
Five electronic databases were searched for articles published in English between 2001 and 2010. Titles and abstracts were screened by one researcher according to the inclusion criteria. Papers were included if they assessed pharmacy staff or consumer attitudes towards pharmaceutical public health. Full papers identified for inclusion were assessed by a second researcher and data were extracted by one researcher.
From the 5628 papers identified, 63 studies in 67 papers were included. Pharmacy staff: Most pharmacists viewed public health services as important and part of their role but secondary to medicine related roles. Pharmacists' confidence in providing public health services was on the whole average to low. Time was consistently identified as a barrier to providing public health services. Lack of an adequate counselling space, lack of demand and expectation of a negative reaction from customers were also reported by some pharmacists as barriers. A need for further training was identified in relation to a number of public health services. Consumers: Most pharmacy users had never been offered public health services by their pharmacist and did not expect to be offered. Consumers viewed pharmacists as appropriate providers of public health advice but had mixed views on the pharmacists' ability to do this. Satisfaction was found to be high in those that had experienced pharmaceutical public health
There has been little change in customer and pharmacist attitudes since reviews conducted nearly 10 years previously. In order to improve the public health services provided in community pharmacy, training must aim to increase pharmacists' confidence in providing these services. Confident, well trained pharmacists should be able to offer public health service more proactively which is likely to have a positive impact on customer attitudes and health.
This paper reviews the literature, analyzes current and future practice, develops a list of competencies necessary for future pharmacists, and provides recommendations to pharmacy's academic enterprise regarding curricula of the future. Curricula of the future will center around 3 functional roles for pharmacists: patient-centered care, population-based care, and systems management; and must also foster the development of 5 cross-cutting abilities in student pharmacists: professionalism, self-directed learning, leadership and advocacy, interprofessional collaboration, and cultural competency. Future curricula must be developed in an evidence-based manner, focus less on information storage and retrieval, engage student pharmacists in a variety of highly interactive learning experiences, and expand experiential learning opportunities throughout all years.
competencies; curriculum; professionalism; cultural competency; self-directed learning
In Poland, 38.0% of men and 25.6% of women smoke daily. One method for expanding access to smoking cessation services is through community-based pharmacists. Surveys were administered in 2007–2008 to (a) current smokers, (b) members of a pharmacy association, and (c) pharmacy students in their final year of training. Pharmacists were the highest ranked health professionals to whom Polish smokers reported they would turn for information about pharmacological support for smoking cessation. Most pharmacists (79%) reported their knowledge allowed them to provide basic smoking cessation information to their patients. Pharmacy students reported being more able to provide information about the health consequences of tobacco smoking than to help patients quit smoking (85% vs. 61%). In Poland, community-based pharmacists are positioned to provide smoking cessation interventions to all segments of the population. To extend and promote smoking cessation efforts, comprehensive tobacco cessation training should be a required component of the pharmacy school curriculum.
smoking cessation; pharmacists; health professionals; pharmaceutical care