Pharmacy U

Leaders in Pharmacy 2019: Lisa Dolovich

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As a researcher, Dr. Lisa Dolovich focuses on understanding how individuals can get the most out of their medication and especially how the healthcare system can be better organized and better function to help people meet their health goals and needs. This includes exploring the role of pharmacists. “A person often needs to overcome challenges to maintain their health. One is the better use of medication,” notes Dolovich. “Health research can help us understand how to implement changes to pharmacy practice that will improve the quality, outcomes and value that the profession of pharmacy provides to patients and the healthcare system.”

 

by donalee Moulton

EDUCATION: University of Toronto (Pharmacy, Doctor of Pharmacy), McMaster University (Master of Science, Health Research Methodology)

CURRENT ROLE: Professor and Ontario College of Pharmacists Professorship in Pharmacy Practice, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto; Professor (PT), Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University; Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Pharmacy, University of Waterloo

As a researcher, Dr. Lisa Dolovich focuses on understanding how individuals can get the most out of their medication and especially how the healthcare system can be better organized and better function to help people meet their health goals and needs. This includes exploring the role of pharmacists. “A person often needs to overcome challenges to maintain their health. One is the better use of medication,” notes Dolovich. “Health research can help us understand how to implement changes to pharmacy practice that will improve the quality, outcomes and value that the profession of pharmacy provides to patients and the healthcare system.”

What intrigued you about being a pharmacist?

I like the different aspects of pharmacy, including patient care. Medications are also so interesting in and of themselves, and this is enhanced when you’re problem solving to match the right medications with the right individuals. I like the mix of art and science that is inherent in pharmacy, and working with the other members of the healthcare team. There is a lot of variety in this profession. You can find your home here.

What does the future hold for pharmacy?

The profession is moving to a place that is much more focused on better medication management for patients. This is leading us to different care models and services over time. We need to have our system of practice set up so that we can take on more responsibility for putting medication-related care plans in place and for doing regular follow-ups. Our system needs to make it easier for us to be part of the shared healthcare team. What we do has to be much more visible. Right now we work in silos. As well, we need to maximize the impact of each thing we do for our patients. That means we must identify, and stop doing, things that don’t add great value.

How are pharmacy schools breaking new ground to help the next generation of pharmacists enhance the value they bring to patients?

We are increasing the amount of experiential training. Students get more hands-on experience with patients and with other members of the healthcare team. That produces a better understanding for students and provides a critical context. They can see what lies ahead. In everything we do, the patient is at the centre. Schools are also helping students strengthen their creativity and critical thinking skills through active learning by incorporating business plan competitions, video assignments and other uses of novel teaching and learning technologies.

How does taking action to enhance pharmacists’ value help advance the profession?

Enhancing value to patients helps us to better reaffirm the need for our services and our purpose as a profession. We have to understand our profession’s uniqueness in the healthcare system and focus on what it is we do that others cannot. If we can’t fill a need, we won’t be a profession for long.

What key steps will help prove that pharmacy can sustainably add value to patient care?

We must consistently demonstrate our drug therapy expertise and how good decisions can be made in this realm. And when the healthcare system is under scrutiny, which it very much is today, pharmacists must be part of the discussion. We’re starting to get the technology in place that helps us connect with each other and across the system. The system is also seeing the value in chronic disease management and disease prevention. We’re taking on a new reality.

Click here for a video of the 2019 Leaders in Pharmacy:

  • Video featuring all the 6th annual Leaders in Pharmacy

 

Leaders in Pharmacy, including this independently written article, is supported by Pfizer Canada Inc.

This article appeared originally in the January 2019 issue of Pharmacy Practice + Business and Canadian Healthcare Network.