Issues such as therapy adherence, market forces and the reallocation of tasks within pharmaceutical healthcare all play a role in pharmaceutical processes.
If patients do not take their medication as prescribed (in other words, if they are not adherent to the therapy), this can have major consequences for their health and can therefore result in significant additional medical care costs. For example, if someone who has just left hospital does not adhere to his or her therapy, there is a very real danger that they may end up back in the hospital. Adherence to therapy can even make the difference between life and death! But it is a difficult issue. When people come out of the hospital, they cannot always remember the instructions they were given for the medication. For this reason, this research group looks at how therapy adherence can be improved among patients who have spent time in hospital and then go to their own pharmacy. What role can the pharmacist play in this? Does it help if the pharmacist calls these patients, or visits them at home?
Another pharmaceutical process is the ‘reallocation of tasks’, with the result that certain tasks will be carried out by other professionals or staff with another level of responsibility. The reallocation of tasks can contribute to prevention and thus to reducing overall spending on healthcare. For example, a pharmacist could offer his or her clients the opportunity to be tested to see if they are at risk of type-2 diabetes. Normally, this would be done by a general practitioner. If necessary, the pharmacist can try to minimize the risk by giving lifestyle advice, so that this person will require less care further down the line. This would be beneficial for those with a high-risk lifestyle and a way of controlling healthcare costs. The research group is also taking part in a study by the Demand-driven Care research group into the safety of medication in hospitals when assistant physicians prescribe medication. Since 2012, assistant physicians have had the legal authority to prescribe medicines (a result of the reallocation of tasks), but how has this been implemented in practice? And what are the consequences?