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1.  Development and evaluation of an innovative model of inter-professional education focused on asthma medication use 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:72.
Inter-professional learning has been promoted as the solution to many clinical management issues. One such issue is the correct use of asthma inhaler devices. Up to 80% of people with asthma use their inhaler device incorrectly. The implications of this are poor asthma control and quality of life. Correct inhaler technique can be taught, however these educational instructions need to be repeated if correct technique is to be maintained. It is important to maximise the opportunities to deliver this education in primary care. In light of this, it is important to explore how health care providers, in particular pharmacists and general medical practitioners, can work together in delivering inhaler technique education to patients, over time. Therefore, there is a need to develop and evaluate effective inter-professional education, which will address the need to educate patients in the correct use of their inhalers as well as equip health care professionals with skills to engage in collaborative relationships with each other.
This mixed methods study involves the development and evaluation of three modules of continuing education, Model 1, Model 2 and Model 3. A fourth group, Model 4, acting as a control.
Model 1 consists of face-to-face continuing professional education on asthma inhaler technique, aimed at pharmacists, general medical practitioners and their practice nurses.
Model 2 is an electronic online continuing education module based on Model 1 principles.
Model 3 is also based on asthma inhaler technique education but employs a learning intervention targeting health care professional relationships and is based on sociocultural theory.
This study took the form of a parallel group, repeated measure design. Following the completion of continuing professional education, health care professionals recruited people with asthma and followed them up for 6 months. During this period, inhaler device technique training was delivered and data on patient inhaler technique, clinical and humanistic outcomes were collected. Outcomes related to professional collaborative relationships were also measured.
Challenges presented included the requirement of significant financial resources for development of study materials and limited availability of validated tools to measure health care professional collaboration over time.
PMCID: PMC4234384  PMID: 24708800
2.  Experiences of community pharmacists involved in the delivery of a specialist asthma service in Australia 
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.
PMCID: PMC3439711  PMID: 22709371
Pharmacy; Asthma; Disease management service; Experiences; Feedback
3.  Comparison of Small-Group Training With Self-Directed Internet-based Training in Inhaler Techniques 
To compare the effectiveness of small-group training in correct inhaler technique with self-directed Internet-based training.
Pharmacy students were randomly allocated to 1 of 2 groups: small-group training (n = 123) or self-directed Internet-based training (n = 113). Prior to intervention delivery, all participants were given a placebo Turbuhaler and product information leaflet and received inhaler technique training based on their group. Technique was assessed following training and predictors of correct inhaler technique were examined.
There was a significant improvement in the number of participants demonstrating correct technique in both groups (small group training, 12% to 63%; p < 0.05; and Internet-based training, 9% to 59%; p < 0.05) post intervention, with no significant difference between the groups in the percent change (n = 234, p > 0.05). Increased student confidence following the intervention was a predictor for correct inhaler technique.
Self-directed Internet-based training is as effective as small-group training in improving students' inhaler technique.
PMCID: PMC2739068  PMID: 19777100
dry powder inhaler; Turbuhaler; asthma; Internet-based training
4.  Long-Term Maintenance of Pharmacists' Inhaler Technique Demonstration Skills 
To assess the effectiveness of a single educational intervention, followed by patient education training, in pharmacists retaining their inhaler technique skills.
A convenience sample of 31 pharmacists attended an educational workshop and their inhaler techniques were assessed. Those randomly assigned to the active group were trained to assess and teach correct Turbuhaler and Diskus inhaler techniques to patients and provided with patient education tools to use in their pharmacies during a 6-month study. Control pharmacists delivered standard care. All pharmacists were reassessed 2 years after initial training.
Thirty-one pharmacists participated in the study. At the initial assessment, few pharmacists demonstrated correct technique (Turbuhaler:13%, Diskus:6%). All pharmacists in the active group demonstrated correct technique following training. Two years later, pharmacists in the active group demonstrated significantly better inhaler technique than pharmacists in the control group (p < 0.05) for Turbuhaler and Diskus (83% vs.11%; 75% vs.11%, respectively).
Providing community pharmacists with effective patient education tools and encouraging their involvement in educating patients may contribute to pharmacists maintaining their competence in correct inhaler technique long-term.
PMCID: PMC2690903  PMID: 19513170
community pharmacists; dry powder inhalers; asthma; education

Results 1-4 (4)