New Research Supports the Need to Innovate on Patient Care


I wanted to provide a quick research update to two previous blog postings - one relating to pharmacist services and patient health and the other on the importance of providing home supports to individuals with chronic illness.

Dr. Walter Wodchis, a senior scientist at Toronto's Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, and his colleagues published a study in the journal of Drug Safety entitled Incidence and Economic Burden of Adverse Drug Reactions among Elderly Patients in Ontario Emergency Departments: A Retrospective Study.

This study analyzed five linked Ontario health-care databases for people 66 and older from April 2003 to March 2008.

For 2007, the costs of adverse drug reactions were estimated in 2008 dollars at:

  • $333 per emergency department visit.
  • $7,528 per hospitalization.
  • $13.6 million in Ontario, or an estimated $35.7 million in Canada.

This has resulted in added, often unnecessary costs to the health care system, and even more importantly, has negatively impacted patient health.

I was pleased to see that this report received coverage on The National. The story run on the CBC also pointed to a programme in Ontario that was launched to help stop adverse drug reactions as a result of multiple medication interactions.

MedsCheck is a program that allows you to schedule a 20 to 30 minute one-to-one meeting with your community pharmacist to ensure that you are safely and appropriately using all types of medication.

In addition to this programme, the Canadian innovative pharmaceutical industry have come together with a number of community partners on a Knowledge is the Best Medicine campaign.

One of the initiatives that I think is terrific in this campaign is the iPhone app they have created to help track medicines taken by you and your family, and can even be used to remind you about when to take your medicine, and when to refill your prescription. MyMedRec is a portable up to date health record that can be easily shared with your family, doctor, nurse, pharmacist or anyone else involved in your healthcare.

Innovating to find solutions to improve patient health takes many different forms. From researching and discovering new medicines, to ensuring that medications are administered safely and with all the necessary information at hand is key in the continuum of patient care.

You can find out more about these programmes below.