Through educational events, projects, publications, advocacy and lobbying of EU committees, the EAHP strives to advance the knowledge and role of hospital pharmacists to help bring the best care to patients
Dr Roberto Frontini
European Association of
Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP)
New technologies like Computer-aided Physician Order Entry (CPOE), expert databases checking interactions and dosage, robots and scanners at the point of care changed the world of the healthcare professional. In Barcelona, in March 2009, more than 2,600 participants at the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists’ (EAHP) annual congress had the opportunity to update their knowledge on new technologies, and similar numbers were reported at EAHP 2010 as Hospital Healthcare
Europe (HHE) went to press. With fully automated hospitals now more than just a theory, the worry is that technology is replacing the human workforce. Will physicians still need pharmacists to provide the information necessary to prescribe
a drug correctly in the future or will they rely on database information?
Technology is becoming more and more sophisticated and knowledge is needed to use it properly and create new levels of quality. To draw a comparison with aeroplanes, IT changed
the cockpits but did not render the pilots redundant; instead technology enhanced the safety and comfort for passengers and crew. Similarly, technology helps to improve the quality of care for patients in hospital settings. Pharmacists will be able to maintain their stakeholder position in the process of drug use only if their competencies grow along with the level of science and technology used in hospitals.
The European Directive 2005/36 EC on recognition of professional qualifications lays down the criteria to be automatically considered as legitimate when applying for a post as a pharmacist in another European country. This text offers a base for developing more specialised competencies in the hospital setting. Specialisation is a must for the profession, and lifelong continuing education a necessity if pharmacists are to be recognised by other healthcare professionals in the complex
environment of hospitals.
With the patient as the focus, physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals have to work together to build a great team. Defending the interests of patients is paramount.
By changing its logo from a mortar (symbolising the production of drugs) to a cross (symbolising patient care), EAHP is showing its commitment to providing high-level education and to fostering networking for the best interest of the patients.
EAHP offers a platform for hospital pharmacists to exchange good practice on best care and is an active stakeholder in several European projects on education (Pharmine), patient safety (EuNetPas) and pricing (PHIS).
It also advocates the use of barcodes on unit doses. This allows EAHP to fulfil its goal to contribute to the scientific development of hospital pharmacy and to advancing the position and role
of the pharmacists in European hospitals.
Another way of fostering knowledge and providing science to hospital pharmacists is the EAHP journal, the European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy (EJHP), published six times a year and available on the EAHP website, www.eahp.eu.
Survey on hospital pharmacy
EAHP also enhances the position of hospital pharmacists by supplying healthcare professionals, policy-makers and hospital managers with data presented in its Survey on Hospital Pharmacy which runs every five years. The survey presents the state-of-the-art, performance and development of hospital pharmacy. The way hospital pharmacists perform their duties throughout Europe with regard to supplying drugs, counselling patients and their relationships with the medical staff undoubtedly differs from country to country. Therefore, it is important to be aware of these differences and recognise them if hospital pharmacists are to improve further their professional knowledge and everyday practice.
Countries more advanced in these areas of practice are in a position to help those less advanced, thus reducing the differences between the different parts of Europe. EAHP is the only organisation collecting and presenting such thorough data which result in the survey being a key source of information even to the European Commission when developing its policies for the profession. The next survey will run in 2010.
EAHP participates in drafting new guidelines via the European Pharmacopeia, sitting in the Council of Europe and its project on magistral preparations. The European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and healthcare (EDQM) is a European organisation involved in the harmonisation and co-ordination of standardisation, regulation and quality control of medicines, blood transfusion, organ transplantation, pharmaceuticals and
The EDQM is reflecting on the “harmonisation of quality and safety standards for smallscale preparations in European pharmacies” with the aim to enhance patient safety and standardise the quality of preparations in community pharmacies and hospitals. As an active participant in this reflection process, EAHP is demonstrating its strong support to improving small-scale production of medicines and making sure that all European patients, wherever they reside, get the
same quality of care. As HHE went to press, the EAHP annual
congress was taking place in Nice, France. The theme is ‘Focus on pharmacotherapy – hospital pharmacists advancing patient care’, and about 2,500 participants are expected. It offers an additional service to the healthcare community by increasing knowledge and awareness in the latest development in hospital pharmacy, patient safety and medicines and is open to all professions and accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
The European Academy of Hospital Pharmacy offers its members who joined the EU after 2004, or are new members of EAHP, one handson practical seminar a year and invites experts to attend its yearly summit which ‘trains the trainers’. The seminars and summits are a continuation of EAHP commitment to deliver knowledge and information on the best practice of hospital pharmacy.
Through educational events and surveys, participation in European or worldwide projects, publication and advocacy initiatives, EAHP enhances the performance of more than 21,000 European hospital pharmacists and the healthcare
professionals they work with.