Asthma Medication Project Wins Prestigious Pharmaceutical Award
Date posted: 9 July 2012
A University of Derby-led research project that discovered a pharmacist's intervention can improve asthma patients' lives has triumphed at the Pharmaceutical Journal's (PJ) 20th Pharmaceutical Care Awards.
Anna Murphy, who is a Consultant Respiratory Pharmacist at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, carried out the research for her Doctor of Pharmacy award at the University of Derby with her supervisor, Professor James Elander, Helen Knight of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Jeremy Bennett, from Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group, and Helen Langton, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of the West of England.
The team received the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's Pharmaceutical Care Award for the research project, which designed and tested the effectiveness of a community pharmacy intervention for patients with asthma, on June 28.
Anna said: "Research has shown that the delivery of regular structured reviews of people with asthma can reduce their day-to-day symptoms and the burden of providing emergency care on the NHS.
"Currently, such asthma reviews are mainly undertaken by practice nurses and GPs, however only two-thirds of people with asthma have a routine review each year.
"As asthma sufferers may in fact attend a pharmacy more frequently than they see a GP we wanted to know whether a pharmacist-led intervention could result in improvements in adherence to medication and a reduction in symptoms."
Pharmacists at 15 community pharmacies and 125 asthma patients took part in the study. Asthma sufferers were assessed on their level of asthma control, their quality of life and medication adherence before the intervention.
They then received the 'SIMPLE' structured pharmacy review designed by the team, which covered inhaler technique, adherence to medication and whether prescribing was in line with national asthma guidelines; SIMPLE an acronym for Signposting, Inhaler Technique, Medication Review, Peak Flow, Lifestyle and Education.
After six months 50 participants were assessed again. Statistically significant improvements were seen in the patients' quality of life, asthma control and inhaler technique, and medication adherence. There was also a 32% reduction in the number of unscheduled visits the patients had made to their GP over the period of the study.
The team has now registered its interest in a bid for funding to roll out the 'SIMPLE' intervention across community pharmacies and NHS asthma service pathways in Leicestershire.
On the team's win, Anna said: "I am absolutely delighted to take home such a prestigious award, especially as we were up against five projects of an extremely high calibre.
"We believe that many more low-risk patients' asthma can be controlled through our SIMPLE community pharmacy approach, and we hope that our bids to roll it our further will be successful."
Professor James Elander, Anna's Doctor of Pharmacy supervisor at the University of Derby, said: "Anna's project is a really good example of how applied research can make a difference to people's lives and health, as well as informing the development of national policy, in this case for asthma care.
"We are delighted that this research has been recognized by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's Pharmaceutical Care Awards."
Full details of the research are to be published in PJ Online www.pjonline.com