Hospital and community pharmacists collaborate in improving the quality of life of patients

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The pandemic has consolidated some healthcare services within the National Health System. Thus, over the last few months, collaborative continuity programs have been extended in the dispensing of drugs from the hospital setting in pharmacies, in a coordinated action by hospital and community pharmacists. These projects guarantee that hospital outpatients receive telematic pharmaceutical care from the hospital pharmacist and they are referred to the reference pharmacy, where they receive their medicine from the community pharmacist.

In the case of cancer patients, this coordination is of extraordinary importance, since the hospital’s specialist pharmacists who work in multidisciplinary teams, together with oncologists and hematologists; they coordinate with community pharmacists, as drug experts closest to their homes. In this way, it contributes to facilitating and improving the monitoring of treatments and adherence to them, also promoting the humanization of the health care they receive.

Current situation

Currently the autonomies that are carrying out this initiative are Catalonia, Andalusia, Cantabria or Valencian Community; in which hospital pharmacy services, community pharmacies and drug distribution warehouses, all of them with their pharmacists in charge, collaborate in this experience of care continuity. Thus, Catalonia, a pioneer in this project, has made more than 26,000 reported deliveries; Andalusia, with practically all its provinces involved, more than 50,000; Cantabria has all its hospitals involved and has made more than 4,500 deliveries. Finally, in the Valencian Community, which has just started the program, 1,200 have already been exceeded.

In short, more than 14,000 patients They benefit from this type of program in which hospital and community pharmacists collaborate in the dispensing of hospital drugs.

The results collected to date are confirming that this service benefits patients and the National Health System. This is clear from a study by the General Council of Pharmaceutical Colleges and the Official College of Pharmacists of Cantabria, published in the journal
Global & Regional Health Technology Assessment
. The data reflects that only in the
University Hospital Marqués de Valdecilla de Santander
Significant savings were generated for the system by avoiding making shipments by courier and from a social perspective, for patients, by reducing the number of trips and lost productivity avoided.

Quality of life

Jesús Aguilar, president of the
General Council of Pharmacists
, highlights that “these data confirm that the collaboration of hospital and community pharmacists leads to the benefit of the patient.” Furthermore, Aguilar points out that «provide this service to patients, where possible and beyond the pandemic, it allows to improve their quality of life always with the continuous supervision and responsibility of a pharmacist, in a continuity of care between hospital and pharmacy ».

The initiative, which was supported by the
Spanish Patient Forum
, has also been tested with the users of the service. A survey conducted by the
Official College of Pharmacists of Cantabria
revealed the high degree of satisfaction shown by the patients. More than 70% of the respondents found the accessibility, hours and waiting time in the assigned community pharmacies adequate or very adequate, and rate their overall level of satisfaction with the care received with an average score of 7.7 out of 10 69.3% of those surveyed would like to continue picking up their hospital medication at the community pharmacy.

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