Partners in health

Pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists cannot operate in a vacuum if the goal is to transform patient outcomes. New collaborative models of practice, research, and education are needed in healthcare worldwide. This includes practitioners, the pharmaceutical industry, researchers and academics, as well as patients and the general public. This topic will explore our unique role as pharmacists in such collaborations and how we can contribute to meaningful partnerships in patient centred care; thereby improving not only the care and service that patients and their families receive, but also our sense of professional satisfaction and fulfilment.

Terms like ‘patient-centred care’, the ‘empowered’ patient and ‘health literacy’ have become part of our every-day language, reflecting the fact that pharmacists and other healthcare professionals appreciate that patients today want to be actively engaged in shared decision making about their healthcare. Other terms like ‘outcomes research’, ‘impact measurement’ and ‘health improvement’ demonstrate that healthcare is becoming more objective and evidence based. We can no longer assume that a new treatment or technology is better than the previous standard of care. We must have data to ensure our decisions are evidence based.

In order to effectively put the patient in the centre of our activities and then demonstrate that the care provided is effective and beneficial, we need to collaborate – not only with other healthcare professionals involved in direct patient care, but also with the researchers, regulators, manufacturers and educators who contribute to the generation of products, data, information and wisdom, which are key components of modern healthcare.

Our goal in this topic is to show what can be achieved when we overcome barriers and begin to recognize our common purpose. From patient partnering to innovative new ways of partnering with payers, health care providers, the pharmaceutical industry, regulators and others – there is value to be created when we learn to collaborate.