350,000 Ontarians could have increased access to health care thanks to Ontario's pharmacists, according to a new study



    TORONTO, Sept. 9 /CNW/ - A new study(i) estimates that 350,000 Ontarians
could have more access to health care by expanding pharmacists' professional
services such as counseling for chronic disease management and a medication
therapy management program. According to the study, pharmacists could provide
benefits to Ontario's health care system upwards of $473 million in the first
five years by taking on services that pharmacists in other provinces already
perform. This data is being presented at the OPA Conference 2009: Broadening
our Horizons from September 10 to 12 in Toronto.
    "For many people in Ontario, pharmacists are the most accessible health
care providers and already provide valuable support and direction," said
Dennis Darby, CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists' Association (OPA). "Pharmacists
can and should play an even more important role in helping manage patient
health, which would also serve to reduce the cost of health care in Ontario."
    According to the study, expanding pharmacists' professional services
would increase access for 350,000 of Ontario's 700,000(ii) unattached
patients, an equivalent of approximately 1.3 million general practitioner
visits each year. This is of particular significance for the well-being of the
health care system and for all Ontarians.

    Reduced Emergency Department Visits

    The study estimates that more than 107,000 Emergency Department visits
could be avoided in the first year alone and that number could increase to
more than 146,000 visits avoided per year within five years. These
improvements are particularly meaningful for areas of the province where the
number of unattached patients is high and the local hospital Emergency
Departments serve as the primary access point to health care. With the
proposed adjustments, other health care providers and Emergency Departments
could take on new patients, and the strain on resources would be reduced.

    Economic Value with Proposed Legislation

    An economic value analysis of professional services across five
categories, currently offered or soon to be performed by pharmacists in
Ontario if proposed legislation is passed, showed that:

    
    -   A health, wellness and disease education program for people with
        asthma, diabetes and hypertension would result in benefits of about
        $13.6 million over five years.

    -   A refill extension program would provide value to the system
        estimated at $46.1 million over the first five years.

    -   A therapeutic modification program would provide savings of
        $3.0 million in the first year alone.

    -   A prescription intervention program to assist pharmacists in
        preventing adverse drug events would benefit the health care system
        by an estimated $3 million per year by year five.

    -   A minor ailments program would benefit the province by an estimated
        $81 million per year, by the fifth year.
    

    "Ontario's community pharmacists support a collaborative approach to
health care and are eager to work together with all involved - patients,
physicians and other health professionals, government, employers and private
insurers - to meet the needs of a patient-focused 21st-century health care
system," Darby said. "The government is taking positive steps with Bill 179.
Pharmacists can do even more to help Ontarians and improve the efficiency of
the health care system."

    About the Study

    nD Insight Corporation developed a cost-benefit analysis to determine the
value of each of the selected service categories. Identified benefits and
costs were estimated using the most recent Ontario data available. The study
was completed in June 2009.

    About the Ontario Pharmacists' Association

    The Ontario Pharmacists' Association is the professional association that
represents the views and interests of more than 11,000 pharmacists and
pharmacists-in-training across the province. The Association works to inspire
excellence in the profession and practice of pharmacy, and to promote wellness
for patients.

    
    ---------------------
    (i)    nD Insight Corporation, September 2009, An Analysis of Economic
           Value & Health System Benefits for Pharmacy Professional Services
    (ii)   ICES, 2005, OPHRDC 2008, Statistics Canada 2007
    





For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Lindsay George, Ontario Pharmacists' Association, Tel. (416) 441-0788 ext.
4236, Email: lgeorge@opatoday.com; Deborah McNorgan, Ontario Pharmacists'
Association, Tel: (416) 441-0788 ext. 4266, Cell: (416) 523-3446,
dmcnorgan@opatoday.com

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Ontario Pharmacists' Association

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