By Dayle Acorn
It’s one thing to be a part of getting a good idea off the ground. But it’s a whole other experience to see it come to fruition. Since 2007 the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy has been funding good ideas around pharmacy-related research as part of its Innovation Fund Grant. In fact, we’ve donated a total of more than $1 million to the cause, and this program is a core part of our mandate, which is to support pharmacy for a healthier Canada.
Every year, CFP board members review applications submitted from across the country by pharmacists engaged in research or in an innovative model of practice that is aiming to advance the profession. And we’ve gotten some pretty innovative proposals to date.
Take Sherilyn Houle, a 2015 grant recipient and an assistant professor at the University of Waterloo. She led a team of researchers to investigate the effectiveness of an Alberta-based pharmacist-managed travel medicine clinic under expanded scope of practice. The results showed that 90% of patients were satisfied with the service and 80% accepted the vaccines proposed by the pharmacist. Sherilyn says CFP’s initial funding has enabled her to secure further support from the International Society of Travel Medicine for future research in this area.
Toronto pharmacist owner John Papastergiou (a 2014 Innovation fund grant recipient) offers more “proof” of pharmacist impact through his research around home visits for seniors who aren’t homebound. His data revealed that drug therapy issues in this population were twice as great as for homebound seniors, likely because they weren’t getting enough support. Pharmacists removed unnecessary/expired medications in 67% of cases! What an opportunity for all pharmacists with senior patients.
I am looking forward to seeing what will transpire for our 2016 Innovation winner, Barbara Farrell of the Bruyere Institute in Ottawa.With the growing issue of polypharmacy leading to hospitalizations, especially among the elderly, she and her team have developed guidelines to help pharmacists with deprescribing. A pilot program in four pharmacies is now taking place and by the fall, the researchers expect to be able to share some feasible strategies on deprescribing that can be implemented in pharmacies across the board.
Regardless of the profession’s already stellar reputation among patients, we keep hearing governments and other stakeholders say they need concrete data that prove that pharmacists improve patient care. That’s where our researchers come in and why we need to support them.
This year, we’ll be providing $100,000 in Innovation Fund grants that I expect will help yet another innovative pharmacy research project get moving. In my mind, that’s money well spent. After all, every researcher and every successful study is getting us closer and closer to accumulating more and more evidence to put pharmacy in its optimal position to improve the health of Canadians: front and centre on the healthcare team.
Dayle Acorn is Executive Director of the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy (www.cfpnet.ca), a registered charity dedicated to supporting innovation and leadership to advance the profession of pharmacy.