D5 - Better outcomes for hepatitis C patients in your community

Alsh

Organised by the FIP Community Pharmacy Section in collaboration with the FIP Academic Pharmacy Section

Chairs

Manjiri Gharat (Indian Pharmaceutical Association, India) and Julie Akers (Washington State University, College of Pharmacy, USA)

Introduction

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects approximately 150 million people globally, however, many are unaware of the fact that an acute HCV infection is usually asymptomatic. This results in the unintentional spread of the virus as well as unnecessary progression of hepatitis, leading to negative patient outcomes and higher healthcare costs. Standard of care (SOC) tests are time-consuming and expensive, leading to many patients not being screened or having delays in results and care, assuming access to testing is even available. Many patients are symptom-free or have nonspecific complaints; hence providers do not routinely order SOC testing. Rapid point-of-care (POC) tests for HCV have been proven to be more cost-effective and convenient when compared with SOC tests. Pharmacists are the most easily accessible healthcare professionals and, at the same time, the most underutilised.

In the USA and several other countries, the practice of pharmacy is evolving into one of more advanced direct patient care. A shortage of primary care providers and specialists has fuelled the fire toward utilising all healthcare professionals at the very top of their licensure. In the USA, there is a push for pharmacists to be recognised as billable providers of care, both on national and state level. As these changes occur, pharmacy education has to prepare pharmacy graduates to practise today as well as in the future.

Pharmacists are in an ideal position to impact change as it relates to hepatitis C. Community pharmacists can increase patient access to screening, counselling and — most importantly — provide a referral into the healthcare system. Pharmacists within clinics or health systems can manage patient care, from ordering and interpreting laboratory results to managing the complex medication regimen many patients face.

Pharmacy-based testing also has the potential to reach at-risk individuals who are not tested for HCV elsewhere. When combined with integrated specialist referral, it has the potential to reduce the burden of undiagnosed HCV and engage new diagnoses directly with specialist care.

This session will examine the many ways in which pharmacists can impact patient outcomes, discuss how specialised training can be implemented into pharmacy education, and enable participants to leave with an overview of how to be involved in policy change.

 

Programme

09:00 – 09:10 Introduction by the chairs

  1. 09:10 – 09:45 Overview of the worldwide hepatitis C landscape
    Antons Mozalevskis (WHO Regional Office Europe, World Health Organization)
  2. 09:45 – 10:20 Utilisation of pharmacists as patient care providers for hepatitis C patients
    Julie Akers (College of Pharmacy, WSU, USA)

 10:20 – 10:40 Coffee/tea break 

  1. 10:40 – 11:15 Implementing innovative patient care training in pharmacy education
    Patricia Acuña Johnson (University of Valparaiso, Chile)
  2. 11:15 – 11:50 Pharmacist-provided patient care services on a global scale
    Peter Guthrey (Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Australia)

11:50 – 12:00 Conclusion by the chairs

Learning Objectives

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe why hepatitis C is a global concern;
  2. Define the many practice settings in which pharmacists are involved in patient care for those with hepatitis C;
  3. Outline policy development and solutions to barriers to implement patient care services;
  4. Identify key variations among pharmacy practice worldwide and how it affects a cohesive effort toward innovation.

Type of session: Knowledge-based