This project sought to improve the health of asthma patients by giving them better pharmaceutical care. The study was offered to all pharmacists from the Health Outcome Pharmacies co-operative in British Columbia. Participating pharmacists were trained and certified in asthma care, and participating pharmacies were provided with separate counselling rooms. Participants were divided into three groups: those who received basic asthma education, those who received scheduled asthma self-management training sessions, and a control group who received pharmacists’ normal level of care. Researchers found that patients in the enhanced care group used 50 per cent less of the medication (inhaled beta-agonists); had 50 per cent fewer symptoms, had a 10 per cent increase in lung function, and benefited from a greater improvement in asthma knowledge than did those receiving a normal level of care. There were no changes in emergency or physician visits or in hospitalizations but asthma-related visits decreased in the enhanced care group. Patient satisfaction with services was very high in both groups. Although pharmacists were pleased with their patients’ improved health status, they were unhappy about the demands on their time and resources and by some patients’ non-compliance.
This project was supported by the Health Transition Fund, which was created in 1997 to provide support for evidence-based decision-making in health care reform by supporting pilot and evaluation projects which test innovative approaches to health care delivery. The views expressed herein do no necessarily represent the official policy of federal, provincial, or territorial governments.