Involvement in research can boost a community pharmacy’s professional standing
April 27 2016
Community pharmacies which undertake practice research programmes report benefits such as increased credibility as a high quality pharmacy service provider, a study has suggested. Active participation in research also can benefit patients and the public with the potential for improved quality of care and patient outcomes.
The advantages of pharmacy participation are included in an evaluation of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s community pharmacy Ready Research Programme. This is an accreditation programme which aims to support community pharmacies getting involved in research studies across Great Britain.
Aims of the online programme, which covers the basic requirements for undertaking primary care, are to:
- ensure pharmacies undertaking the accreditation process meet the standards outlined in the Department of Health’s Research Governance Framework
- increase the routine involvement of community pharmacies in funded research, with appropriate financial reward for their time;
- encourage national research infrastructures to select community pharmacies as research sites;
- provide adequate support for community pharmacies to undertake research and increase opportunities for research.
Since its launch in September 2013, nearly 200 pharmacies have engaged with Research Ready. Feedback from a survey of these pharmacies with 72 responses, found that all research leads were pharmacists, with 81% being RPS members, but only 1% being RPS Faculty members. “It was also evident that the majority of pharmacies were either multiple independents or independent pharmacies, which have between seven and nine staff,” said the Society.
Among the sorts of research activities undertaken by accredited pharmacies have been signposting patients to studies, raising awareness of the importance of health-related research in the NHS, and recruiting patients into studies or formally taking consent from participants and enabling them to take part in a study. Smaller proportions of pharmacies reported having been involved in managing and dispensing clinical trial medication or actively delivering a study intervention.
The evaluation of the programme concluded: “Pharmacy leads identified professional and business development as the most important factors for becoming accredited. Of those that responded, 61% were already involved in research prior to becoming accredited and aware of the benefit research yields to improve patient care.
“The advantages of accreditation for the business included increased credibility as a high quality provider, service development and innovation, and building stronger links with industry and academia. Research leads’ perception as the greatest advantages of the accreditation for patients and the public included, increased accessibility to research and improved quality of care and patient outcomes.”
Dr Rachel Joynes, Head of Research and Evaluation at the RPS, added: “We are keen to demystify research for community pharmacy and break down perceived barriers to research engagement. Research Ready enables pharmacy to engage in research on their own terms in a way that is meaningful and practical for both business and professional development needs.”