Community pharmacies effective at clinical services: review

blood pressure checks: hands on assessment paper

A literature review has found CP interventions are accessible and effective, but argues research should look into how GP pharmacists may impact these

Community pharmacies are well located to deliver healthcare services due to convenience and accessibility, say academics from the University of Canberra’s Faculty of Health.

Their narrative review, published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice, identified five areas of community pharmacy interventions:

  1. Clinical interventions
  2. Medication reviews
  3. Health promotion
  4. Screening and management of chronic diseases, and
  5. Support services for drug addiction.

Pharmacists’ interventions have led to improved asthma control, detection of diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors, reduction in smoking rates and weight, and identification of drug-related problems, found Vera Buss, Dr Alison Shield, Dr Sam Kosari and Dr Mark Naunton.

Their evaluation of 12 systematic literature reviews, four non-systematic reviews and five original studies found the availability of vaccination services in pharmacies has contributed to increased vaccination rates.

Support programs for drug users has seen the transmission rate of blood-borne diseases decrease.

With regards to medication reviews, an evaluation by PricewaterhouseCoopers found the main outcomes and recommendations of MedsCheck are consistent with its aims.

As MedsCheck consumers are generally about 10 years younger than HMR consumers, this shows the capacity of MedsCheck to identify high-risk patients at an early stage, and prevent potential long-term effects like chronic stages of disease or hospital admissions.

A systematic review of HMRs and similar reviews conducted by community pharmacists (but not including MedsCheck) found these have been shown to be clinically effective as well as cost effective.

The authors of the review concluded patients with mental health problems, chronic disease and high-risk medication can benefit particularly from HMRs.

“The evidence from the included studies demonstrates the effectiveness of these pharmacist-provided healthcare services,” write Ms Buss, Dr Shield, Dr Kosari and Dr Naunton.

“Many studies have reported on the positive outcomes of the programs, especially in the areas of HMR, CVD and diabetes prevention and management.”

However they add further research should be undertaken “to assess the impact of the expanded role of pharmacists in general practice on the community pharmacy-led services”, adding that it is yet unknown how this impacts the community pharmacy setting.

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