Spring 2018 (Volume 28, Number 1)

Ontario MedsCheck Program Integrates Pharmacists into Patient Care

By Carolyn Whiskin, RPh, BScPharm, NCMP

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The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care funds a medication review for any Ontario resident who is taking three or more chronic disease medications. Known as the “MedsCheck Program,” this consists of a one-on-one interview between the pharmacist and patient to review all prescription and non-prescription medications. A lifestyle assessment is also conducted to address smoking, alcohol, illicit drug use and exercise routine. At the end of the appointment, a complete list of all medications is provided to the patient and shared with their family physician, and any drug-therapy problems that are uncovered are shared with the prescribing physician.

Recognizing the opportunity of MedsCheck for arthritis patients, a joint committee of the Ontario Pharmacists Association and the Ontario Rheumatology Association was established. The goal was to identify how the MedsCheck program could help provide an accurate medication profile for patients to share with their rheumatologist. One of the committee recommendations was to have the intake person at the rheumatologist’s office request that patients book a MedsCheck appointment with their community pharmacist prior to their clinic appointment. The resulting medication list could then be faxed to the rheumatologist's office directly by the community pharmacy, and copies provided to the patient for distribution to any of their other health care providers.

A communication was subsequently distributed to every Ontario pharmacist and rheumatologist through their respective associations in an effort to maximize uptake of the MedsCheck program in rheumatology.

Ms. Carolyn Whiskin, Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health,
Hamilton, ON


Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. MedsCheck. Available at

Patient Self-Care and Self-Management Resources

By Ms. Anne Lyddiatt

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Searching for and finding reliable sources of information on how to live with and manage arthritis can be a daunting task. This is especially true for newly or relatively newly diagnosed patients who are not yet familiar with terminology, treatments, what constitutes reasonable expectations, and how to recognize a “get rich quick” scheme with a “cure” for a disease still waiting for a cure to be discovered. With over 100 types of arthritis, how can a patient find the information pertinent to their condition?

Most Canadians are unable or unwilling to commit to the educational program on arthritis based on the Stanford model consisting of six weekly two-hour sessions. The need for accurate information is as great as ever, but the preference is for less structured and more easily available information.

There can be differences in interpretation of self-care and self-management. Some patients and professionals regard self-care as looking after oneself and one’s arthritis, while others feel self-management is how they manage their disease on a daily basis and self-care is a separate issue. When searching for resources, it is a good idea to search both terms.

Some excellent resources are available online including RheumInfo, Joint Health, the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance (CAPA) website and newsletters, and The Arthritis Society website, to name a few. The challenge is finding a way to reach people when they are newly diagnosed and desperate for the answers and help they can find on these reliable sites. It remains an ongoing challenge to ensure that people can access information to understand their arthritis and the need to follow their treatment plan to enjoy the best possible quality of life.

Ms. Anne Lyddiatt, National Trainer, Patient Partners, Ingersoll, ON

The access code to enter this site can be found on page 4 of the most recent issue of The Journal of the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRAJ) or at the top of the most recent CRAJ email blast you received. Healthcare professionals can also obtain the access code by sending an email to

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