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Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press Publishes New Article Detailing the Impact of Pharmacists During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press (HBKU Press) has recently published a new article detailing the effectiveness and the dedication of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in Qatar on its online academic publishing platform QScience.com

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The research was conducted by Dr. Rania A. Hassanin, Supervisor of Outpatient Pharmacy at the Communicable Diseases Center (CDC) of Hamad Medical Corporation, in coordination with Dr. Fatima Rustom, Pharmacy Director at the CDC, and highlights how the retrospective analysis on the roles of these particular healthcare workers provides key data as a part of the overall contribution of healthcare providers in containing the effect of the pandemic in Qatar.

This article is particularly relevant as it highlights one part of the overall strategic plan to mitigate the effects of the pandemic in Qatar. The paper sheds light on the collaboration between different corporate functions at Hamad Medical Corporation, including the Pharmacy, Nursing, Infection Control, Clinical Informatics and Transportation teams, to the effect of one of the lowest global death rates due to COVID-19 around the world.

“As preventative measures surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic are re-introduced due to a spike in cases, the research published on QScience.com provides insight on successful protocols implemented in the past by frontline healthcare sectors becomes increasingly important,” said Dr. Rima J. Isaifan, the Head of Academic and Journals Publishing at HBKU Press.

The article, titled, Communicable Disease Center Pharmacy's prudent response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the State of Qatar, has been published in QScience.com’s open journal, QScience Connect. The research took place from March – October 2020 and the post-research analysis demonstrated how the Pharmacy Team at the CDC of Hamad Medical Corporation managed to plan, record, and implement a full strategy to maintain their critical healthcare service despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During those months, it was reported that the number of prescriptions increased from approximately 7,000 per month to approximately 22,000 per month. In addition to simply filling up prescriptions, the new inpatient workflow for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians established to maintain efficient infection control increased their overall workload by four times. The outpatient pharmacy also expanded its scope of service to manage all refill requests for COVID-19 cases in the 12 quarantine centers across Qatar. The Clinical Pharmacy Service established protocols within its team to raise awareness and provide education to prevent prescription errors.

The result of such an initiative by the CDC Pharmacy Team, along with the various efforts of multiple other healthcare sectors in HMC, was the containment of COVID-19 patient’s death rate. This resulted in the overall death rate in Qatar around 40% lower than the global rate.

The research shows that the successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic during the acute critical phase between March – October 2020 can be broken down to the successful responses of individual healthcare sectors in conjunction with the overall strategic response initiated by Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health.

The article details how the effective maintenance of pharmaceutical treatment plans for COVID-19 patients, coupled with the use of automated disinfecting and distribution services in collaboration with other stakeholders in clinical workflows, allowed for life-saving medications to be made available to those in dire need. 

It can be concluded that the infection control protocols applied by both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians led to the continuance of a critical healthcare service that continued to save patient lives.

For complete details and to read the full article on QScience.com, please visit: https://www.qscience.com/content/journals/10.5339/connect.2021.1