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REF NO.: 323

SUBJECT: Collaboration to improve diabetes care
DATE: June 22, 2006

An innovative study that partners community pharmacists with patients and their physicians will look at ways to improve diabetes care throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. A team of researchers from Memorial University’s School of Pharmacy and Faculty of Medicine is undertaking the study with community pharmacy partners.
            “We are extremely excited by this opportunity to demonstrate the value that the community pharmacist adds to patient care," said Dr. Debbie Kelly, associate professor of Pharmacy and co-principal investigator on the Community Pharmaceutical Care Program study. "It's very encouraging that the federal government sees the merit in exploring and evaluating this relationship and has funded this province-wide study,”
            Dr. Stephanie Young, clinical assistant professor of Pharmacy and co-principal investigator on the project, described it as a "win-win" situation for people living with diabetes, pharmacists, physicians, and the community at large. "It’s been demonstrated time and again that when health care professionals collaborate with their patients and each other, improved health outcomes result. We are just taking this relationship to the next logical step by formally exploring the collaboration among community pharmacists, patients and physicians."
            The Community Pharmaceutical Care Program is a two-year provincial study which will evaluate a model of care in which community pharmacists collaborate with patients with diabetes, their physicians, and other health care professionals to achieve improved diabetes management. 
"It's projects like this that show pharmacists do a lot more than dispense medications," said Dr. Kelly. "In this study we'll try to answer two major questions: is the Community Pharmaceutical Care Program effective in helping patients achieve better control of their diabetes and is it associated with improved levels of satisfaction among patients and health care providers.”
            Dr. Leslie Phillips, associate professor of Pharmacy and study investigator, said pharmacists are the most accessible members of the health care team. "What other primary health care professional can you access at 11 p.m. on a Friday night without an appointment? Pharmacists do more than just count pills and dispense prescriptions. We undergo at least five years of university training to become experts in appropriate medication utilization and work with patients and other health care professionals to ensure that optimal health outcomes are met.”
            The Community Pharmaceutical Care Program study has received funding of $185,000 over two years from the Health Canada Best Practices Contribution Program, as well as an additional $15,000 from Memorial University’s Office of Research. The Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board and the Pharmacists’ Association of Newfoundland and Labrador are collaborators on this study, which has also received support and endorsement from the Department of Health and Community Services, the Office of Primary Health Care, and the pharmacy community. 
 Editors note: A photo of the team members of the Community Pharmaceutical Care Program study and a photo of investigators Drs. Debbie Kelly and Stephanie Young can be viewed at www.mun.ca/marcomm/media_relations_photos.php

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