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European Symposium on Clinical Pharmacy: recognising Clinical Pharmacy: recognising achievements and challenges


Clinical pharmacists gather at the ESCP-GSASA 2009 symposium in Geneva, Switzerland on 3-6 November, to discuss strategies to maintain maximum patient benefit as healthcare costs rise

Frank Jorgensen
President ESCP

President GSASA

Johnny Beney
Symposium President

This year it is 30 years since ESCP was established. In this anniversary year we will arrange our 38th symposium in Geneva in collaboration with the Swiss Society of Public Health Administration and Hospital Pharmacists (GSASA). The main title of the symposium, “30 years of Clinical Pharmacy” a bright future ahead”, alludes to the achievements made over three decades and to our firm belief that clinical pharmacists will play an ever more important role in patient care.

As the population ages greater numbers of people will experience more disease and will need more medicines. The medicines themselves will become more sophisticated and more expensive. The challenge is how to obtain the maximum benefits for patients and society at a reasonable cost. The symposium addresses this challenge, by focusing on multidisciplinary care, patient-oriented care and the possibilities inherent in present and future health technologies.

Neither pharmacists, nurses, doctors nor any other health professionals are able to meet all the healthrelated needs of any patient on their own. Collaboration is necessary, but it must go beyond that. In today’s complex landscape of care, it is necessary to cross each other’s borders “physically and mentally” and really work together for the benefit of the patient. At the symposium, different approaches to multidisciplinary care will be explored, including the hospital, community and general healthcare perspective.

How then, should patient-oriented care be approached? There are of course numerous ways to move forward. The methods chosen vary according to type of patient, disease and treatment, to name just a few of the pertinent variables. Nevertheless, communication on some level or other, is always involved. In Geneva, communication between patients and carerswill be explored in the context of risk, medication adherence and pharmacogenomics. For the outcome of medication therapy, it is of pivotal importance that the patient feels safe and is motivated towards using his or her medicines in as correct a way as possible. The better the communication between patient and carer, the better the odds that the patient will obtain maximum benefit and minimum risk from the medicines used.

In many instances, good communication “both between carers and patients, and between carers” is aided by technology. At the symposium this aspect of patient care will be addressed through lectures on the benefits and pitfalls of e-prescribing; the impact of a drug information system, with computerised physician order entry (CPOE), on patient care in a hospital; and the structure and function of a national electronic patient dossier.

Those of you who are familiar with the ESCP symposia will know that in addition to the main lectures and discussions there will be an extensive poster sesion, pharmacotherapy updates, oral communicatons and a number of workshops to attend throughout the three days. Some of the workshops will echo and elaborate on the themes addressed in the plenary lectures, and some recur from one year to the next.

For instance, each year there are two workshops on research methodology and scientific writing, respectively. These cover areas that ESCP finds important and relevant in its function as a scientific society.

Also this year, there will be a large exhibition area along with two sponsored minisymposia.

Of course, the symposium offers an arena for net working between hundreds of clinical pharmacists from around Europe and beyond. I hope you join us in Geneva, the host city of the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the International Red Cross and the central cross-roads of Western Europe.

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