Pharmacy Research UK research grant awards revealed

A project investigating the use of patient-held information about medication, and one developing a personalised computer-based decision aid tool have received funding.[1]

Bryony Dean Franklin, professor of medication safety at UCL School of Pharmacy

Pharmacy Research UK (PRUK), a charity that funds pharmaceutical research to improve healthcare, has announced details of their first two project grant recipients for 2017.

Bryony Dean Franklin, professor of medication safety at UCL School of Pharmacy and director of the Centre for Medication Safety and Service Quality at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, has been awarded nearly £93,000 to investigate the use of patient-held information about medication (PHIMed).

PHIMed refers to information held by patients to help them remember the details of medicines that they are currently taking, and to show to healthcare professionals. PHIMed includes formal documents from healthcare providers, commercially available apps, or documents created by patients themselves.

Franklin’s project, in collaboration with UCL Interaction Centre, will look at how PHIMed is used in practice, with a view to identifying how it can support medicines optimisation. The researchers hope that the data gathered will lead to development of an optimised PHIMed solution which could be trialled in future.

“We know that when people move from one healthcare setting to another, errors can occur in communication of information about their medicines”, said Franklin. “We also know that many patients want to be more active partners in their healthcare and that many use different types of PHIMed, both paper and electronic, to help them remember their current medicines.

”However, we do not know how PHIMed should best be used or what the most important features are. I am therefore absolutely delighted that PRUK are enabling us to do this research.”

Mandy Ryan, director of the Health Economics Research Unit at the University of Aberdeen, and her colleagues have been awarded £100,000 to develop and pilot a personalised computer-based decision aid tool to facilitate shared decision making in pharmacist-led consultations.

The tool will make use of discrete choice experiment methods. Patients will compare two or more treatment alternatives and then state their preference in a series of hypothetical scenarios. When enough responses are generated, mathematical techniques are used to identify the relative importance of treatment attributes, how patients compare treatment attributes, and the overall treatment benefit to patients.

The study will use management of chronic pain as a test case, as this is an area in which patients often have variable criteria for success (e.g. pain reduction, minimal medication side effects, or ability to maintain physical activity).

“We are delighted with the funding, which will allow us to develop an innovative tool to help patients with chronic pain make treatment decisions,” Ryan said. “This project will build upon our existing strong multidisciplinary research team with doctors, pharmacists and health economists to help improve patient-pharmacist interaction in primary care and ultimately the decision quality for patients with chronic pain.”

PRUK is investing £200,000 in major project grants during 2017. To date, the charity has funded £1.2m of research across 37 projects. For more information email

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Pharmacy Research UK research grant awards revealed;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20203576

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