Posted on March 17, 2015

The Pharmacy Department at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Heart Hospital and the National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR), jointly with Qatar University’s (QU) College of Pharmacy (CPH), recently hosted a first-of-its-kind symposium to highlight the latest trends and advances in ambulatory care for patients with cancer and heart diseases in Qatar.

The day-long symposium, entitled “Improving Outcomes through Inter-professional Collaboration in Ambulatory Care Practice among Heart and Cancer Patients - Striving for Excellence in the Ambulatory Care Setting,” attracted more than 200 attendees, comprising of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, researchers, academia and other allied healthcare professionals, from institutes like HMC, QU CPH, Primary Health Care Corporation, and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, as well as other local health-related colleges. The symposium featured state-of the-art lectures and presentations from local and international experts in the area of ambulatory care management and stressed the importance of inter-professional collaboration and education to enhance health outcomes for patients.

In an ambulatory care setting medical services are provided to patients on an outpatient basis. These outpatient (ambulatory) clinics are particularly effective for patients with chronic conditions such as heart ailments and cancers that require ongoing assessment, treatment, care and support, preventing the need for hospital admission. During the conference, international speakers from the U.S., Professor Albert I. Wertheimer, Professor of Pharmaceutical Economics, Temple University, and President of Pharmasultants Group, and Dr. Joaquima Serradell, Vice-President of Pharmasultants Group, spoke on topics such as recent and future developments in improving clinical outcomes and striving for excellence in ambulatory care settings.

Conference Chairman and CPH Professor of Social and Administrative Pharmacy Prof. Mohamed Izham stated: “Managing ambulatory care has become really significant from numerous perspectives, including the cost, financing and delivery of comprehensive, coordinated patient care. Successful ambulatory operations are important to effective patient care and population health management. We need leaders in ambulatory care settings in Qatar. A forward-thinking organization recognizes the importance of achieving excellent ambulatory performance in a manner that improves quality of life, patient experience and cost, which is vital to the success of future health systems. 

HMC and QU conference highlights 2 [].jpgProf. Izham added: “The College of Pharmacy’s mission and vision is committed to such initiatives by preparing pharmacy student leaders who are impassioned to be involved in inter-professional collaborative practice in ambulatory care settings. International research has long suggested that inter-professional collaboration enhances communication, coordination and, eventually, the quality and safety of patient care.”

Conference Co-chairperson and Pharmacy Director at HH and NCCCR, Dr. Manal Zaidan commented: “The conference has served as a dynamic platform for healthcare professionals from a range of specialties to benefit from the exchange of knowledge and learn about the latest developments in the area of ambulatory care for cancer and heart patients. We are positive that this gathering will encourage delegates to initiate innovative research and quality improvement projects that will enrich current ambulatory care practices and help us deliver the best possible care to our patients.” Ambulatory care management requires critical reasoning and astute clinical judgment, and utilizes the combined efforts of multi-disciplinary teams.

“In the past, outpatient clinics were primarily the physician’s domain, however, clinics are now being independently run by healthcare professionals from other specialties such as pharmacy. Recently-established, pharmacists-led clinics such as the anticoagulation (anti-clotting) clinic, the heart failure clinic, and cardiac rehabilitation service at Heart Hospital, are focusing on empowering and training pharmacists to take the leading role in administering care to patients. Ambulatory care pharmacists in outpatient clinics are playing an integral role in optimizing medication therapy and improving patient outcomes when working as part of a multi-disciplinary team,” Dr. Zaidan added.

Conference attendees were able to gather continuing education points from the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) and the Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education (ACPE). The conference opened with a cultural performance by a group of students from Al Andalus Model Independent Boys School.