Five questions for pharmacists

Consumer group proposes a five question program for patients to ask to improve QUM, supports embedding pharmacists with GPs and aged care

The Consumers Health Forum says it is “working on” on a ‘5 Questions to Ask your Pharmacist’ program to aid patient health literacy and improve quality use of medicines.

In a recent blog, Leanne Wells, Chief Executive of the Consumers Health Forum of Australia, emphasised the need for greater health literacy in Australia and the need to focus on improving this if we are to improve QUM.

Ms Wells emphasised the crucial role of pharmacy, especially when embedded in GP clinics or aged care settings.  

“We are striving for higher levels of consumer medication literacy – giving consumers information and the agency to ask questions, understand their consumer medicine information (CMI) and feel confident proactively to seek medication reviews,” she said.

“Supporting patient-centred models of care will advance QUM,” Ms Wells said.

“Having non-prescribing pharmacists in general practice represents a really powerful development.

We have the workforce in pharmacists who can work with prescribers to use localised data to look at prescribing patterns, medication reviews, and most importantly work with the GP to educate and better equip consumers – particularly those with many medications or who have English as a second language”.

“And, of course in aged care where there are such routine and complex issues with medication, pharmacists would have a vital role,” she added.

“That’s where our proposal for 5 Questions to Ask your Pharmacist… comes in”.

The questions would cover issues such as the benefits, risks and costs of medicine, she said.

“We need to help consumers be wise consumers, to know their choices and be equipped to make the right decisions”.

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