WPPF / FIP Scholar winner Ms Su Su from China shown with WPPF Executive members John Jackson and Leonila Ocampo at the FIP Congress in Buenos Aries 2016.
It is an honor for me to be granted this prestigious scholarship from FIP Education Foundation to attend the 76th FIP world congress in Buenos Aires. I should express my thanks to Thony Björk and Board of Directors of FIP Foundation for Education and Research, Mr. John Jackson and WPPF Executive Committee members, in conjunction with Carmen Peña and Board of Directors of FIP for this exciting opportunity.
The current health care reform in China poses a challenging environment for pharmacists to provide premium pharmaceutical services. On one hand, as the aging population is growing in China, the prevalence of “modern” chronic disease is obviously rising. The aging patients desire to but are not able to get adequate medical knowledge from health care providers due to the limited and low quality services provided in the public hospital. For example, each hospital pharmacist should provide services for average 700 outpatients every day in my hospital, which is a quite common situation in the triple three hospitals in China. The limited time for pharmaceutical care of each patient directly causes patients’ dissatisfaction increase. On the other hand, medicine price reform launched in 2016 is going to enforce public hospitals to provide medicine delivery services without any profit. It will directly cause the operation of pharmacy departments become a burden to the hospital. So it is time for Chinese pharmacists to make a change. Chinese pharmacists are eager to realize pharmacist’ unique value and obtain accepted by patients and other health care providers. Just provide dispensing medications services is far less than enough for Chinese pharmacists. There is a necessity for us to assist in the provision positive health care outcomes by providing pharmaceutical care.
Above is the background of our program, aiming to provide pharmaceutical care in an efficient way to help to improve patients’ satisfaction. And that is the reason for me to apply the scholarship so that I am able to attend the congress to learn some advanced knowledge and skills about health literacy and IT solutions to empower out patients from pharmacists all around the world.
Firstly, through the session “A1 Health literacy – the role of pharmacists”, I leant some skills about how to evaluate patients’ health literacy levels, which could be applied in our further works. It is noticed that the unequal economic development in different areas in China, causing citizens have diverse education backgrounds, which directly causes their different health literacy level. From the session, I realized that tailored pharmaceutical services are especially vital in China in order to meet patients’ health literacy levels with quite different education background and cognition. The administration labels we designed before are really needed to be improved or replaced by symbol labels in order to match the patients’ health literacy level, especially among aging patients with relatively limited education backgrounds and low cognition. In addition, I find that Pictograms and PictureRX that provides easy-to-understanding symbols and schedule arrangement functions are worth to being introduced to China. Herein our team plan to redesign the medication labels and help patients to make their personal medication calendars in the aid of Pictograms. And we hope that we are able to get persistence aid from Pictograms group from now on.
Secondly, the meeting with members of Foundation for Education and Research and WPPF inspired me to continue developing the software and app to provide tailored pharmaceutical care. From the meetings, I found that some similar software and apps are already available. Their designing, client experiences and operation mode are worth to be followed as references. The aim of developing software and apps is to meet the demands of patients who are not able to get adequate pharmaceutical care due to limited health care providers’ work force in public hospitals. From pharmacists’ perspectives, since we are eager to but are not able to provide premium pharmaceutical care to patients, the software and apps are helpful to achieve the basic goal in an effective way. But after the congress, I realized that although with the aid of many advanced tools like APPs and social medias, the most important communication factor between pharmacists and patients is still face-to-face communication, especially for aging patients who are not technology friendly. Human being is the subject that pharmacists provide pharmaceutical care to. Technologies are just assistant methods for pharmacists. Despite that the time for face-to-face communication is limited for each patient, Chinese pharmacists are still recommended to seize every valuable chance to communicate and talk with every patient. In China, the value of pharmacists has been underestimated, which troubles us for many years. Despite several ways have been tried before to improve the status of pharmacists in patients’ minds, the situation of pharmacist is still awkward. After the congress, I realize that although face-to-face communication is an old-fashioned way compared with modern technologies like social media, it still might be and always be the most extensively influential way to improve the pharmacists’ situation in patients’ mind in a large scale of China.
Thirdly, the congress provided valuable communication opportunities with pharmacists all around the world. From my own experience, I learnt some skills from a successful case of optimization services procedure in one of Singapore’s public hospital. This program reduces average patients’ waiting time from 30min to 15min and thus increase patients’ satisfaction, which is worth to be introduced into public hospitals in China. I get not only the skills of optimization procedure, but also realize the important of private communication with pharmacists from all around the world. Besides I share the knowledge and skills I’ve learnt from the congress, I strongly recommend my colleagues in China to talk with pharmacists from all around the world if they have chance. Chinese are shy to express themselves especially in English. Although there are many participants from China for FIP congress each year, the voice from Chinese pharmacist is hardly heard. So I plan to encourage more Chinese pharmacists to speak out in global congresses so that let the world know more about Chinese pharmacists as well as learn advanced knowledge and skills to improve pharmaceutical care in China.
Last but not least, attending of the FIP congress not only benefit myself but also provide a valuable opportunity to share the knowledge and experience with my colleagues in China. I will serve as a conduit of knowledge and information to promote our advocacy that a pharmacist is an indispensable member in reducing the global burden of disease.