A clinical pharmacist belongs to the medical team next to the patient's bed, as well as to the community health centre and outpatient clinics
Assist. Prof. Matej Štuhec, MPharm, PhD, a specialist of clinical pharmacy, a lecturer at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Ljubljana and the Faculty of Medicine in Maribor, also works as a clinical pharmacist at the Psychiatric Hospital Ormož, Slovenia. He was nominated for this year's IMA for a study with which his team proved great importance of a clinical pharmacist’s interventions in nursing homes. The collaborative approach with a clinical pharmacist led to a decrease of polypharmacy and increased the quality of life in patients with mental disorders. The research work was published in the renowned scientific journal the Scientific Reports, a part of the Nature group.
On average, the elderly receive too many medications, therefore polypharmacy (five medicines or more at a time), as well as potentially inappropriate medications and some combinations are particularly problematic in patients with mental disorders. These problems can lead to hospitalizations, adverse events and increase healthcare costs. Under the auspices of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ljubljana, the mentor Prof. Aleš Mrhar, PhD, the then student Nika Bratović and myself have conducted a clinical prospective study in the real clinical setting in a Slovenian nursing home. In this research, we have studied the impact of the clinical pharmacist interventions on the total number of medications and quality of life. The clinical pharmacist had a conversation with each patient, reviewed the prescribed medications, identified medication-related problems and sent out a pharmacotherapy review (report). Two months after the conversation, we have calculated that the total number of medications per patient (10 vs. 12) and potentially inappropriate medications decreased significantly, and the quality of life importantly increased,
explains Assist. Prof. Štuhec, who was delighted with the IMA nomination. This means guarantee of good research work and represents external recognition by the IMA expert panel that his research work has been clinically oriented and valuable for patients. Being placed among the finalists and winners would mean recognizing the need for a clinical pharmacist in community health centres in this part of Europe. This could help the health system decision-makers to follow good practices from Slovenia in their countries as well (e.g. Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia). Currently, clinical pharmacy services in the form of ambulatory setting in the community health centres have not been available in any neighboring country.
Pharmacy is a scientific area that, according to Assist. Prof. Štuhec, PhD, develops extremely quickly, but unfortunately unevenly.
On one hand, we have a real revolution in medical treatment, such as diabetes, hepatitis C, schizophrenia, rheumatic diseases, and on the other hand, we will have to invest a lot of energy, for example, in the development of antibiotics and antidepressants. The pharmaceutical industry invests heavily in the development of medicines and new therapies. The pharmaceutical industry's importance is also reflected in collaboration with various experts, including clinical pharmacists. I am glad that clinical pharmacists are also recognized as invited speakers at the medical congresses. Together we work for the best possible patient outcomes, our most important service partner,
emphasizes Assist. Prof. Štuhec, who, in addition to his work, also loves to travel (e.g. Brazil, French Polynesia, North Korea), but now has less time for that. He dedicates his valuable free time mainly to family and sports.