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In Hong Kong, arthritis is the third leading chronic disorder among the older people. It could create a huge amount of burden on the health care system if patients cannot achieve good diseases control and have recurrent flare up of diseases. To maintain stable control and minimize acute flare up, medication adherence is essential. Studies revealed that drug education has the highest evidence in improving medication adherence. Pharmacists who are expert in drugs can provide counseling to arthritis patients, improving their drug adherence and disease activities. As a result, research evaluating the effectiveness of pharmacist counseling service on improving arthritis patients’ medication adherence and disease activities in Hong Kong has been initiated in a specialist out-patient clinic of a local acute hospital.
This research aims to improve patient medication adherence and enhance medication safety. A validated Compliance Questionnaire on Rheumatology (CQR-19) is used to measure the medication adherence. From the preliminary data, over 90% of the recruited subjects are non-adherence at baseline and thus, detailed drug counseling is necessary.
During the first visit, pharmacists will provide a 20 minutes drug counseling service to the referred patients. This includes discussion on drug administration schedule, importance of drug adherence, side effects management and pain management. Besides, pharmacists also have different roles in other aspects such as drug information and procurement. Pharmacists would assist in providing evidence-based information and recommendations to physicians and nurses for drug-related enquiries. These attempts to improve therapeutic outcomes and minimize medication errors, enhance medication safety and reduce hospitalization. Design of the multidisciplinary care model and results of this study would provide a reference for the future development of clinical pharmacist service in rheumatology.