In our daily practice as pharmacists much data is being generated that can inform on many issues. Such data can provide evidence for policy changes affecting patient care, public health and pharmacy practice.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica (PSJ) believes that relevant research, evaluation and evidence generation is the basis for the advancement of our practice as pharmacists. This can play an integral role in the establishment of policies for improving therapeutic outcome and in formulating conducts that reflect good practice, and consequently establish a platform for change.
Several articles have highlighted how research findings from research into the practice of pharmacy have impacted policy changes affecting pharmacy and the patients and the public for whom they care. In some instances they have formed the basis for an establishment of new pharmacy services.
Smoking cessation is one example of a pharmacy service that was instituted as a result of findings from a research by (Sinclair, Bond, & Stead, 2004). Research conducted in the role of pharmacists in managing and controlling repeat dispensing and the role of pharmacists in the management of minor ailments have contributed to changes in policy in the United Kingdom (Pharmacy Research UK). Additionally, research has been the source of evidence for the support of new policy changes such as pharmacists’ prescribing and also to evaluate newly implemented initiatives and to form the basis of the decision to continue or modify these initiatives.
As pharmacists, we strive to improve the quality of our services and initiate new ones for the benefit of our patients. Collecting and publishing the results of these services provides evidence that will inform workforce development, education needs, and practice protocols. Community pharmacists have access to a large sector of the population that is oftentimes difficult to reach and so the pharmacists are in a strategic position to make significant contribution to research initiatives. In order to develop our practice and impact policymakers, our findings should be disseminated through publication in academic and professional journals, conference presentations, poster presentations and through professional networks (Roberts & Kennington, 2010).
Roberts and Kennington (2010) lists some of the benefits of pharmacy research as:
- Strengthening the services pharmacists provide
- Building the evidence base for developing and commissioning new services
- Improved patient care
- Contribute to the knowledge base within health service research more widely
- Gain both professionally and personally in the process
They also outline how pharmacists can build on their existing activities as follows:
- Conducting research that explores issues identified through regular audit.
- Using research methods to identify local needs that incorporate and build on pharmaceutical needs assessments.
- Developing services and evaluating them in terms of clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction and value for money.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica has identified a lack of published data in Jamaica, detailing evidence of practice based research and so we are actively promoting and encouraging pharmacist to get involved. Policy changes such as establishing clinical pharmacists posts, payments for services, etc. is more likely to be implemented when there is strong evidence to support them.
Suggested topics for research are as follows:
- Contribution of pharmacists to the improvement of diabetes care.
- Role of pharmacist in smoking cessation.
- Treatment Interventions by community pharmacists.
- Impact of pharmacy-based weight reduction programme.
- Patient compliance
- Impact of patient education by pharmacists on disease outcome (e.g. Diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia etc.)
Let us all get involved in an effort to improve our personal and professional ranking.
By: Dr. Marcia Williams
Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica Research Committee
Roberts, R., & Kennington, E. (2010). Pharmacy practice research has an impact on each and every pharmacist. Pharmaceutical Journal, 284(7593), 267-268.
Sinclair, H. K., Bond, C. M., & Stead, L. F. (2004). Community pharmacy personnel interventions for smoking cessation. The Cochrane Library.
http://pharmacyresearchuk.org/our-research/research-strategy/ Retrieved June 4, 2017