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Improving equity of pharmacist services for older Maōri patients

The pharmacist has an important place in healthcare as medicines experts and by being easily accessible by patients. Jo Hikaka explores how pharmacists can provide medicines information reviews to improve the quality of medicine prescribing and reduce adverse outcomes in older Māori adults in Aotearoa New Zealand.

In New Zealand healthcare, pharmacists are increasingly providing medicine reviews which support both patients and prescribers. These services have the ability to improve the medicines knowledge, control and autonomy of patients and can optimise treatment when undertaken together with both patient and prescribers.

Jo Hikaka from the University of Auckland recently won the Excellence in Research Award for Best Emerging Researcher at the Waitematā District Health Board Health Excellence Awards 2021. This AMRF-sponsored prize recognises early career scientists performing important clinical research.

She developed and tested a medicines review intervention to meet the particular needs of older Māori to support the achievement of equity in the quality use of medicines between Māori and non-Māori. The intervention was developed with kaupapa Māori theory and using kaupapa Māori research principles to centre Māori in the development.

Ms Hikaka says,"As an emerging researcher, it is a privilege to be recognised in this way, and the award helps to highlight the importance of the work, and the right of older Māori to receive clinically and culturally excellent care.

"This study is an example of a pro-equity health intervention, informed by Indigenous knowledge and methodology, developed explicitly to address inequities in health outcomes for, and with, Māori. The methods used and outcomes reported have significance for clinicians, pharmacy organisation and policy-makers that work to provide pro-equity health services to (and with) Indigenous populations and other marginalised groups or populations."

This award will support me to share my research in the United States where I will be heading in 2022 as a Fulbright Graduate Awardee, undertaking research at Brown University.

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