Pharmacist identification of new, diagnostically confirmed osteoarthritis (PHIND-OA)

Knee osteoarthritis is the most common cause of disability in older adults. There are three million Canadians currently afflicted with this condition, and it’s predicted that this number will increase by 50 per cent by 2020. The costs of medical care, drugs, and lost wages resulting from this disability is a major economic burden in Canada. Several research studies have demonstrated the benefit of non-drug therapy such as education and exercise for people with knee osteoarthritis. However, many individuals remain undiagnosed for their condition and don’t receive appropriate interventions. Dr. Carlo Marra is researching the potential of pharmacists, who are highly accessible health care practitioners, to help identify people with knee osteoarthritis by using a simple screening questionnaire. Next, he will investigate whether pharmacists can initiate an intervention that brings together patient, physiotherapist, and family practitioner to improve physical function, minimize pain, and reduce the economic burden of this disease. In addition, regular follow-ups will occur to assess and encourage compliance with the intervention, assess outcomes and answer any questions. Dr. Marra anticipates his research will demonstrate the value of this innovative, cost-effective strategy to improve outcomes and quality of life for people with knee osteoarthritis.