Medicines Clinic – A novel opportunity for understanding health literacy
Undertaken by the University of Otago’s School of Pharmacy, this project will be of interest to those who are looking for new and different activities for learners in clinical care settings.
This project presents the results from a pilot of community-based Medicines and Health Literacy Clinics with final-year pharmacy students at the University of Otago.
The clinics are intended to not only provide an authentic learning experience for the students themselves, but also to create an opportunity for improving health literacy amongst the Otago population.
The clinics offer a patient-centred health information opportunity to improve health literacy in the community.
The HLMC (also known as a ‘Brown Bag Medication Review’) encourages patients to bring all of their medicines and supplements to a community setting without appointment or cost.
Typical discussions centre around answering patient concerns, verifying what is being taken, identifying medication interactions or errors and improving aspects of adherence.
Outcomes and recommendations
Impact on practice
The HLMC has had the following impact on the community:
- Improved health literacy for many patients accessing this clinic
- Improved health outcomes to several patients
- Attempted to address a previously unknown demand for opportunities within the community to contribute to health outcomes by improvement in health literacy
- No adverse communication events have been reported from sessions conducted.
Impact on learners
The HMLD has had the following impact on final year pharmacy students attending:
- The School has been able to place approximately a quarter of all final year students into the MHLC over a period of one year
- Most students read the 3 steps to better health literacy as a resource and found this helpful to their learning
- Most students gained knowledge around adult health literacy having undertaken readings then attended the MHLC compared with prior knowledge
- Student learning occurred in implementing the 3 steps to better health literacy approach
- Students demonstrated moderate confidence levels discussing medication matters with patients
- A large majority of students reported that their self-confidence in communicating directly to patients during the MHLC had increased
- Students perceived varying levels of contribution to patient conversations mostly being adequate or fully inclusive
- All students wished to further participate in future clinics and similarly would recommend other students attend a MHLC
- Students received unique and valuable clinical tuition from academic pharmacists over the clinic time
- Students could appreciate academic staff members, who are pharmacists, can contribute directly to patient care in this placement experience
Impact on the team
The MHLC has had the following impact on academic staff members who attend and manage the placement:
- Provided a chance to share clinical knowledge from past teaching, research and practice experience
- Created an opportunity to provide direct and immediate positive health outcomes to patients in the local community
- Allowed the opportunity to formalise staff member’s own learning objectives around adult health literacy for their own continuing professional development
- Opportunities to bring back these experiences into the classroom
- Some patients have indicated a willingness to further contribute to the School’s teaching programme back in the classroom setting
- Contributing roles for team members are both clearly defined and supportive in respect of administrative, clinical and educational responsibilities.
The report outlines further opportunities for MHLC in the community together with the challenges ahead and possible ways in which these may be addressed.
- James Windle – School of Pharmacy, University of Otago
- Aynsley Peterson – School of Pharmacy, University of Otago
- Rhiannon Braund – School of Pharmacy, University of Otago
- Stephen Duffull – School of Pharmacy, University of Otago