Community pharmacy programs in the spotlight

woman pharmacist writing on a piece of paper

What’s happening with the evaluation into the new/expanded 6CPA pharmacy programs?

An independent consulting agency that specialises in evaluating the health sector is currently conducting a review into the new and expanded 6CPA pharmacy programs.

HealthConsult has been approached by the Federal Government to conduct an evaluation of the programs, which cover Dose Administration Aids (DAA); Staged Supply (SS); MedsCheck and Diabetes MedsCheck; and Home Medicines Reviews (HMRs).

In early 2017 it was tasked to assist with the initial design of the programs, and currently the consultancy is monitoring and evaluating the new/expanded programs—and will continue to do so over the next year.

The organisation cites that its “areas of expertise” include program evaluation and review, strategic planning, service model development, program monitoring, health economics, benchmarking, and policy analysis.

According to information recently presented by HealthConsult managing director Joe Scuteri at the 2018 Community Pharmacy Stakeholder Forum, his team will be asking the following key evaluation questions:

  • Do the programs improve patient’s understanding of their medications and the importance of adhering to the prescribed medication regime?
  • Do the programs improve the defined health outcomes of patients?
  • Are the programs cost-effective?
  • What are the barriers and enablers to providing effective patient-centred programs and how can the programs be strengthened?

The evaluation will involve recruitment of about 120 community pharmacies, as well as:

  • About 300 patients to be recruited for MedsCheck only
  • About 300 patients to be recruited for Diabetes MedsCheck only
  • About 300 patients to be recruited for Staged Supply (SS) only,
  • About 300 patients to be recruited for Dose Administration Aids (DAA) only
  • About 1800 patients recruited that are participating in multiple 6CPA programs simultaneously

An initial report covering data submitted in respect of July to December 2017 was provided to Australian Government Department of Health in May 2018, while a second report has been recently provided to HealthConsult covering the period from November to April 2018.

All follow-up data collection is set to be completed by 31 August 2019.

During the evaluation of collected data, the consultants will be looking for improved adherence, patient satisfaction, adverse events, quality of life and changes as witnessed by both stakeholders and pharmacists.

Regarding the cost-effectiveness arm of the evaluation, outcome-based measures collected will be linked to costing study estimates identified in the 6CPA costing phase.

Twenty pharmacies were already recruited and costing conducted for DAA and SS programs this year, with results currently being processed.

Meanwhile HealthConsult has additionally recruited 20 pharmacies and 10 independent pharmacists to be involved in costing MedsCheck, Diabetes MedsCheck and HMR.

Costing for these programs is began in August this year, with an end scheduled for mid-February 2019.

Evaluation of all the programs is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019.

Analysis of the results “to suggest refinements to the programs moving forward” is scheduled to begin in January 2020.

Based on figures for February-June 2018, DAA services have so far been provided to 301,311 unique patients, by 4,774 community pharmacies.

From July 2017-June 18, Staged Supply services were provided to 13,483 unique patients by 3,204 community pharmacies, and in that same period MedsCheck services were provided to 299,530 unique patients across 3,887 community pharmacies. 

A November 2017 update from HealthConsult on the outcomes of its clinical and cost effectiveness review of pharmacy programs found there was a lack of available information to conclusively determine the clinical and cost effectiveness of DAAs, staged supply, MedsCheck, Clinical Interventions and HMRs.

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