The long-term research strategy of the Research Group is influenced by national pharmaceutical policy goals and continuing research interests of the staff, especially its strong involvement in the national joint projects to improve medicines management and integrate pharmaceutical services into other health care services.
Aspects that have a special focus include development and evaluation of new professional services in community and hospital pharmacies; multidisciplinary cooperation in medication reviews; empowerment and concordance and their reflection to medicines information, communication behaviors and services throughout healthcare; medication safety from systems approach; and assessment of development needs of the pharmacy curriculum from clinical pharmacy perspective.
Identification of high risk processes and medications
The Research Group has started a series of studies to identify service delivery processes and medicines causing medication safety risks in the Finnish health care system. The goal is to apply this knowledge for developing preventive mechanisms and guidelines to avoid errors to occur. The work has links to the initiatives of Council of Europe, European Union and Ministry of Social Affairs and Health on patient and medication safety. Special focus is on safety of geriatric pharmacotherapy. The research also covers strategic analysis on the current technology used in medicines management and the needs for innovating new applications.
Medicines information and medicines information services that apply new information technology in service delivery
Medicines information and medicines information services have been one of the key research areas of our group since the early 2000`s. The medicines information research has concerned different levels of pharmaceutical care and healthcare, aiming to promote the accessibility and quality of medicines information. The research has been linked to topical medicines policy initiatives internationally and in Finland. The most current research supports the national medicines information strategy in Finland, and provides information on its` development, implementation and assessment of the implementation. The results can be utilized by multiple stakeholders developing medicines information services for different patient groups.
Clinical Medication Reviews: Development of service procedures, training and implementation, outcomes evaluation
Clinical medication reviews are innovative service procedures based on close collaboration between the physician, the pharmacist and the patient. They are designed for identifying, solving and preventing drug-related problems in
the medications of individual patients in community and hospital settings. The development of procedures were started in Finland in 2004 as a continuum to the national joint project TIPPA to develop professional community pharmacy services to assure safe and rational use of medicines (2000-2003). (ongoing project, one of the national strategic key areas in Medicines Policy 2020).
The research on developing and evaluating hospital pharmacy services from the medication safety focusses on exploring medication safety in hospitals and on wards in general and in various pharmaceutical services, for example, cancer, intensive care, pain management, dose dispensing in particular. Learning from errors and developing and evaluating new safer processes and guidelines are the key in this research. Evidence based practice and the use of treatment guidelines are cornerstones of clinical pharmacy that ensure safe and rational pharmaceutical treatment of patients. Exploring safe and rational prescribing and administration of medicines and pharmaceutical interventions may help in reducing morbidity and mortality.
Medicines Policy/Pharmaceutical Policy is one of the key areas of research and teaching in the clinical pharmacy. Medicines policy is an essential part of health policy and pharmaceutical services are part of the social and health service system. Political guidelines are accepted in the national medicines policy documents (2011) and current legislation. Also EU health policy medicines policy and EU legislation is in focus. Integration of pharmaceutical services into other health services and multidisciplinary cooperation with pharmacists, physicians and nurses are also evaluated. This cooperation is evident especially within the areas like medication review, smoking cessation, concordance, medication safety and other similar projects. New medicines management tools are needed especially in long term therapies. Development of new professional services is essential in integrating of Pharmaceutical services into other health services. Medicines policy covers the whole value chain from industry to distribution and use of medicines. Pharmaceutical service should be of high quality, effective and cost-effective and rational pharmacotherapy and good medication safety (patient safety) is needs to gain this goal. Medicines policy as a research area concentrates also on the role of medicines for individuals and for society. Research questions are related to medicines and professions and organizations dealing with medicines. Regulation of the pharmacy market and sales of medicines is evaluated. One fundamental element is how pharmacist profession is developed in health care and in the society.
The research is focused on identifying core contents and new teaching methods applicable to basic and graduate curriculum in social and clinical pharmacy. The emphasis has been in development of competence needed in patient-oriented clinical pharmacy practice and acquiring principles of life-long learning. Resources have been allocated in establishing new scientific studies for Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral students, as well as developing innovative long-term training programs for pharmacists practicing in community and hospital settings (e.g., specialization training programs and accreditation trainings in clinical medication reviews, chronic diseases and clinical pharmacy services in hospitals). Some of the research and new training programs are also focused on involving nursing staff in medication risk management in primary care. The research and developed training programs are pedagogically based on constructive learning, applying experiential learning methods and participants’ active involvement.
The Research Group also coordinates a 6-months internship in community and hospital pharmacies which is an essential part of the pharmacy curriculum (30 ECTS credits). The development of the internship and its pedagogic design were particularly acknowledged by the Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council in 2009 when it nominated Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Helsinki as a Centre of Excellence in Finnish University Education for the period 2010-2012.