The availability of pharmacists with additional prescribing authorization in Alberta in relation to vulnerable populations' distribution - A cross-sectional study
Canadian Pharmacists Conference ePoster Library. Alsabbagh M. Jun 3, 2018; 217832
Dr. Mhd. Wasem Alsabbagh
Dr. Mhd. Wasem Alsabbagh
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Abstract
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Objective(s): In order for vulnerable/high risk patients to benefit from advanced services, such as pharmacist independent prescribing, pharmacists must be accessible to these patient groups. To better understand this relationship, this research examines the geographical relationship between Alberta pharmacists with Additional Prescribing Authorization (APA) and the neighbourhood's proportion of vulnerable populations, such as low-income people or recent immigrants. Methods: Publicly available data were extracted from the Alberta College of Pharmacists' website. Pharmacists with APA were grouped depending on the postal codes of their main self-reported place of practice. Pharmacists whose main place of practice was in a hospital or who did not declare a place of practice were excluded. Postal codes were then converted to dissemination areas (DAs) using postal code conversion file plus (PCCF+) and were linked to an area's income quintiles (lowest quintile versus other areas) and immigrant tertile (highest tertile versus other areas). The mean number of APA pharmacists per dissemination area was compared using t-test; and the number of APA pharmacists per dissemination area was compared using negative binomial regression. Results: The records of 3,742 pharmacists with 1,054 unique postal codes were included in the study and were linked to 753 unique DAs. Almost one third (34.5%, n=1,289) had APA. The mean number of APA pharmacists per DA was 1.49 in low income areas and 1.79 in other areas (p=0.34). Low income areas had 0.18 less APA pharmacists than other areas (p=0.10). However, the mean APA pharmacists per DA was higher in areas with highest immigrants tertile (2.92 versus 1.65; p=0.18). These areas had 0.58 additional APA pharmacists (p=0.06). Conclusion: The distribution of pharmacists with APA seems to be aligned with vulnerable populations' distribution. Future research should examine the utilization of expanded scope of practice in relation to vulnerable populations' distribution.
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