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Using prescribing health and population data to describe the health of a locality : the development and evaluation of a locality health profile

Steinke, D.T. and Burney, S. and Bennie, M. and Hudson, S.A. (2006) Using prescribing health and population data to describe the health of a locality : the development and evaluation of a locality health profile. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 14. pp. 21-30. ISSN 0961-7671

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Objective To develop and evaluate a pharmaco-epidemiological and public health profile that will aid in the determination and evaluation of the health and pharmaceutical needs of a local population with the National Health Service (NHS). Method Two local health areas (known as local health care co-operatives (LHCCs)) in NHS Lothian with diverse population characteristics had health profiles formally developed using prescribing, hospitalisation and other public health data. The integrated report was able to highlight morbidity issues in each LHCC that could be acted on by either LHCC management or local pharmacy groups. A steering committee and focus groups were used in the design and evaluation process. An evaluation survey of participants including LHCC management, community and LHCC pharmacists and other healthcare professionals was conducted with the main outcome measure being the relative utility of the health profile. Key findings Participants evaluating the health profiles found them informative and useful in decision making and planning for the locality. Participants anticipated using prescribing data to fill information gaps in other datasets and/or provide a primary care perspective to health in the locality. Conclusions Health profiles were developed from prescribing health and population data that were shown to be meaningful and useful to local health authority management and other healthcare professionals. The health profiles contained information that could be used to inform decisions or identify areas where further investigation may be required to find out why a particular anomaly is occurring. In Scotland, the focus of a new community pharmacy contract is on the dual elements of chronic disease management and public health contributions, through prevention of disease and/or limitation of disease impact. There is an urgent need to develop tools that help to inform professional interventions involving pharmacists, and thereby improvements to multidisciplinary co-operation. This study suggests a means of describing the population characteristics for informing a network of community pharmacists about public health priorities within their LHCC.

Item type: Article
ID code: 10549
Notes: 1 Scottish Executive. Designed to Care: renewing the NHS in Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Office Department of Health; December 1997. 2 Scottish Executive. Towards a Healthier Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Office Department of Health; February 1999. 3 Gilley J. Meeting the information and budgetary requirements of primary care groups. BMJ 1999;318:168–9. 4 Majeed A. Accurate information may be difficult to produce. BMJ 1999;318:169–70. 5 Improving Health in Scotland: the Challenge. Edinburgh: The Scottish Executive; 2003. 6 The Review of the Public Health Function in Scotland. Edinburgh: The Scottish Executive; 1999. 7 Modernising NHS community pharmacy in Scotland. Consultation paper. Edinburgh: The Scottish Executive; 2004. 8 The Right Medicine: a strategy for pharmaceutical care in Scotland. Edinburgh: The Scottish Executive; 2002. 9 Strom B, editor. Pharmacoepidemiology, 2nd ed. Toronto: Wiley Press; 1994. 10 STATA version 7. Stata Corporation, Texas USA. www. (accessed 24 October, 2005). 11 Carstairs V. Deprivation and health in Scotland. Health Bull Edinb, 1990;8:162–75. 12 Powell AE, Davies HTO, Thomson RG. Using routine comparative data to assess the quality of health care: understanding and avoiding common pitfalls. Qual Saf Health Care 2003;112: 122–8. 13 Review of Public Health Function in Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive; 1999. 14 Asghar MN, Jackson C, Corbett J. Specialist pharmacists in public health: are they the missing link in England? Pharm J 2002;268:22–5. 15 Pharmacy for Health: the way forward for pharmaceutical public health in Scotland. Glasgow: Public Health Institute in Scotland; 2002.
Keywords: local health care co-operatives, population data, health profiles, Pharmacy and materia medica, Pharmaceutical Science, Pharmacy, Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health, Health Policy
Subjects: Medicine > Pharmacy and materia medica
Department: Faculty of Science > Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
Depositing user: Strathprints Administrator
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2011 05:09
Last modified: 10 Dec 2015 17:50

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