UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University partner to create new OSCAR module for pharmacists in collaborative care teams

The University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Department of Family Medicine  at McMaster University have recently partnered to create a new module within the open-source OSCAR Electronic Medical Record (EMR). The new module will support pharmacists working in care teams and will mark the first time that both pharmacist and physician functionality is located in the same made-in-Canada EMR.

Health care professionals rely on EMRs to manage patient information, test results, care plans and progress notes. The majority of EMR systems currently available meet the specific needs of family physicians only. It is now recognized that patients have better health outcomes when they receive care from collaborative teams of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals.

"We currently use OSCAR and have a special interest in integrating pharmacist and physician needs within the software,” says Barbara Gobis, director of the UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences’ Pharmacists Clinic. “We are making this investment in the spirit of moving pharmacist-physician collaboration to a new level for the benefit of the patients in our care."

OSCAR is open-source software originally developed at McMaster University and subsequently made available for use in the health care community free of charge. The open-source OSCAR code and corresponding OSCAR software are governed and managed by OSCAR EMR, the not-for-profit organization created by McMaster University to steward and oversee the innovative collaboration of OSCAR’s community of users.

“An electronic medical record designed for pharmacists, working as part of collaborative care teams, will truly benefit patient care by improving how pharmacists can do their work” says Lisa Dolovich (PharmD), professor and associate chair of research in McMaster University’s Department of Family Medicine. “It builds on the positive steps taken in new legislation across Canada, which has provided pharmacists with more opportunities for applying their expertise to assist and advise people in the best use of their medications.”

Colcamex Resources, a specialty software development firm, has been hired to build the new pharmacist module. Work officially began last week and is expected to take between six and twelve months to complete. Once finalized, the module will be available for all pharmacists and clinicians within the OSCAR user community.

About UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Established in 1946, the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC advances knowledge, health outcomes and the profession of pharmacy leading to enhanced societal benefit and optimal patient care. With more than 5,000 alumni, the Faculty specializes in pharmacy education, research and practice. The Faculty offers Entry-to-Practice PharmD, MSc, PhD, and Graduate PharmD degree programs. It also offers non-degree programs in continuing pharmacy professional development. 

About the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University

The Department of Family Medicine, within McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, enhances individual and system-wide health care through a commitment to educational, clinical and research innovation. The Department’s team of more than 1,000 faculty members, spread across seven teaching sites in Ontario, provides direct care for over a million patients, and has research and clinical expertise in all areas of primary care; including child health and development, emergency medicine, global health, eHealth and palliative care. The Department offers family medicine training at both the undergraduate MD and postgraduate Residency levels. To learn more, visit fhs.mcmaster.ca/fammed

Image: Interior of a UBC Pharmacists Clinic consultation room. Ivan Yastrebov.