UBC pharmacy clinic wins national award for innovation

Source: Canadian Healthcare Network, December 2, 2014

There's a sign pointing the way to the future of pharmacy, and it hangs above the reception desk at UBC's new Pharmacists Clinic.

Lauded for its future focus, the Pharmacists Clinic opened in November 2013 as Canada's first university-affiliated, licensed, pharmacist-led patient care clinic. It was honoured with the Pharmacy Innovation award at this year's Commitment to Care & Service Awards, the national awards program hosted by Pharmacy Practice+ and Drugstore Canada, Canada's leading pharmacy magazines. The Commitment to Care & Service Awards Gala took place on the evening of November 24th, 2014, at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto.

The clinic looks more like a family practice office than a typical pharmacy—you won't find anything to buy and you can't have a prescription filled there. But if you're a patient, you can have a free hour-long consultation in-person, by phone or via Skype. If you're a student, you can develop hands-on practice skills with real patients so you're ready to provide medication management on day one of your first job. And if you're a pharmacist, you can access tools and resources for your practice, volunteer, and even participate in a unique five-day immersion experience.

"The clinic is a living laboratory where systems and service models are developed and evidence of quality and sustainability in primary care pharmacy is generated," says Peter Zed, Associate Dean in Practice Innovation at UBC's Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Every patient walks out with unparalleled satisfaction and happiness with the care they received, says Anthony Lau, a UBC pharmacy student who worked at the clinic. But they don't have to come to campus to benefit. Led by director Barbara Gobis, the Pharmacists Clinic team—Larry Leung, Michele Mayorga and Jason Min— provides care in selected physicians' offices, travels to remote First Nations communities, delivers outreach services to UBC employees, and presents educational seminars in the community.

Three UBC colleagues dreamed up the idea in 2010 but it took 80 people from different university departments to make the clinic a reality. Much was accomplished in the first eight months after the clinic opened: more than 1,000 patients were seen, 85 undergrads and three pharmacy residents were trained, 17 pharmacists volunteered to supervise programs or deliver care, and 21 outreach events were held.

The Pharmacists Clinic is a visionary innovation and a runaway success, says Michael Coughtrie, Dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC. "It broke new ground for academic pharmacy in Canada and other universities are already following its lead."

UBC Pharmaceutical Sciences alumnus, Aaron Sihota, BSc(Pharm)'14, was also recognized with a Commitment to Care & Service Award for Student Leadership. As president of the Pharmacy Undergraduate Society, Sihota advocated tirelessly for the student perspective both within the university and in the community at large. He organized a "Professional Speed Networking" event to give students an opportunity to network with pharmacy leaders in hospital and community settings. Sihota also created a professional development fund to encourage students to organize initiatives that benefit the pharmacy student body as it relates to the profession.

The Commitment to Care & Service Awards honours excellence in all aspects of pharmacy practice. Awards are presented in nine categories: Advanced Learning, Charitable Work; Collaborative Team Initiative; Disease Management; Overall Patient Care; Pharmacy Innovation; Pharmacy Technician Initiatives; Rookie of the Year; and Student Leadership.

The Commitment to Care & Service Award for Pharmacy Innovation is sponsored by Pharmascience. The Commitment to Care & Service Award for Student Leadership is sponsored by Loblaw Pharmacy and the Ontario Pharmacists Association.

Image Source: Ivan Yastrebov


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