Organised by the FIP Community Pharmacy Section in collaboration with the FIP Academic Pharmacy Section
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.
09:00 – 09:10 Introduction by the chairs
10:20 – 10:40 Coffee/tea break
11:50 – 12:00 Conclusion by the chairs
At the end of this session, participants will be able to:
Type of session: Knowledge-based