Professional and business development are the main drivers for community pharmacies seeking research ready accreditation, according to an evaluation of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Research Ready Accreditation Programme.
The accreditation programme, which has been run by the RPS since 2013, aims to facilitate the involvement of community pharmacy in the delivery of research across England, Scotland and Wales. The programme provides guidance and resources to enable pharmacies to develop the infrastructure and skills required to support primary care research.
“We are keen to demystify research for community pharmacy and break down perceived barriers to research engagement,” says Rachel Joynes, head of research and evaluation at the RPS. “Research Ready enables pharmacies to engage in research on their own terms in a way that is meaningful and practical for both business and professional development needs.”
There are currently around 200 pharmacies engaged with the Research Ready programme and more than 40% of these pharmacies participated in the evaluation study. Participants were mainly multiple independents (75%), with independents and multiple chains making up the remainder (19% and 6%, respectively). Of those who responded, 61% were involved in research before becoming accredited and were aware of the positive impact of research on patient care. Benefits of accreditation identified by those taking part in the evaluation included increased credibility; service development; strengthened links with industry and academia; increased accessibility to research; and improved patient care.
“Research and evaluation are integral to providing better patient care and services that are evidence informed,” says Catherine Duggan, director of professional development at the RPS. “Experience gained through research drives professional development and Research Ready is a unique opportunity for community pharmacies.”
The evaluation report makes nine recommendations to enable the RPS to identify development opportunities for the programme and to encourage more community pharmacists to become research active. These include engaging community pharmacy Faculty members in the Research Ready programme, facilitating networking opportunities for community pharmacies with academic and industry contacts, and introducing a biannual review of the programme.