Date: 27 November 2018
Preventable negative medication events through non-compliance and misadventure are causing increasing concern among health authorities and the Federal Government.
And one leading community pharmacist believes better communication between pharmacist and doctors could be a key to addressing the issues
Luke van der Rijt, co-proprietor of the 2018 Guild Pharmacy of the Year, Southcity in Wagga Wagga, believes that at present too many pharmacists don’t pick up the phone to contact a patient’s doctor.
“I think relations have to be improved so the doctor understands that when the pharmacist rings it’s an important call and they take it. This would result in more calls being made which would help pick up adherence and compliance issues,” he said.
Mr van der Rijt says community pharmacies are already doing a lot but “what we are doing well really depends on the pharmacy you are working in. There is not one model that fist all.
“Community pharmacies that are well staffed, that have procedures in place and where staff have time to speak to the doctors are doing better in this area than those pharmacies which are under stress and which have low staff numbers or don’t have the procedures in place.
“A big area is Dose Administration Aids (DAA) packs and these are increasing across the industry as more and more people realise the importance of that to medication adherence.
“Another thing that is helping to increase compliance is technology and we now have software showing meds index scores which can show us how people are taking their medications or if they are over-using it.”
Mr van der Rijt said one-on-one contact with the patient was often enhanced by the data.
“Of course you may not have all the data if the patient uses other pharmacies. But generally the data will show if they haven’t been taking the medicines regularly or properly and you can advise and counsel them.”
Mr van der Rijt also stressed the importance of dispensing technicians in helping to address medication misadventures.
“Dispense technicians are often the gateway to reading a lot of that data, with the pharmacist doing the checking.
“So you really need a good procedure for the dispense technicians and one area we could perhaps improve on is having the training pathways in this area for the technicians. The technicians already pick up prescribing errors and pass it on to us so the skills of the technicians and their communication with us, are crucial in the process.”
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