Supporting Innovation in Pharmacy for a Healthier Canada

Innovation Fund: electronic tool for med reviews

APRIL 2023 - Given that Canada’s aging population is growing and often dealing with multiple chronic conditions, medication reviews have become an increasingly important service that pharmacists provide.

Dr. Karen Riley, clinical pharmacist at Hogan Pharmacy in Sarnia, Ontario, is looking to improve the process to benefit both patients and pharmacists. As a 2022 CFP Innovation Fund recipient, she is leading a study to determine if the use of an electronic screening tool (EST), which captures more than 20 drug-related issues, can improve the quality and efficiency of pharmacist-led medication reviews.

She and her team of four other pharmacists are collecting and analyzing data to determine if an EST saves a pharmacist’s time in completing a medication review, and whether it could also be a potential educational tool to easily identify drug-related problems.

Earlier this year, the researchers completed the data collection in three phases. In January, they each conducted five medication reviews without using the tool. They then trained on the tool and used it to do five more reviews in February. Finally, they each completed five more reviews in March without the tool, for a total of 75 medication reviews over the three-month period.

Riley created a data collection tool for pharmacists, which captures the type of medication review (e.g., a standard review or for diabetes, etc.), whether it was conducted virtually or in-person, the time required, potential and actual drug-related problems and billable Professional Opinions (a program available in Ontario).

“I am excited about the project,” says Riley. “[The tool] makes it so much easier to capture [issues like] anticholinergic burden scoring, falls risk, etc.”

With the first three phases completed, Riley is now analyzing the data and hopes to publish study results before the end of the year.

Beyond the EST, Riley eventually hopes to delve into more detail about the types of medications prescribed to patients. “I’d like to do a more in-depth analysis of the drugs that patients are routinely on,” she says. “I also have an interest in pharmacogenomics, so I would like to look more closely at that.”

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