As a doctor, Marcello Tonelliknows why he recommendsmedications and instructions to hispatients. As a researcher, he’s cometo understand why his patients withchronic diseases—the leading causeof death and disability—can’t alwaysfollow his advice.
Patients want to follow doctors’instructions, but sometimes they can’tbecause of where they live or a lackof money.
It can be difficult and expensive—even impossible—to pay formedications or get to appointmentswith specialists.
Added to this is that schedules
are largely chosen by health-care
workers, says Tonelli, a researcher
funded by Alberta Innovates – Health
Solutions (AIHS). “You have an
appointment. You are expected to be
there at this time and then comply
with all of the instructions that
follow, whether they’re related to diet,
activity or attending services.”
Those expectations may be logical
and important, but aren’t always
practical for patients.
Putting ideas into practice
This is where the InterdisciplinaryChronic Disease Collaboration(ICDC) comes in. The Calgary-based,AIHS-funded team began in 2009
with the goal of making the treatmentof chronic diseases fair, efficient,effective and more affordable.
Led by Tonelli and Drs. Brenda
Hemmelgarn and Braden Manns,
both AIHS-funded researchers and
U of C kidney specialists, the ICDC
brings together researchers, Alberta
Health Services decision-makers and
doctors to find innovative ways to
reduce and eliminate barriers caused
by geography and low income.
To achieve this, the ICDC isdesigning and testing ways to helpdoctors and pharmacists care forpatients with chronic diseases.
One possible solution, proposed byHemmelgarn and pharmacist RossTsuyuki is to train rural pharmaciststo create care plans for patients whocan’t easily get to a family doctor.
“Legislation has increased whatpharmacists can do,” Tonelli says.
“Pharmacists are highly trained and
The doctors in this
group are very,
very keen to hear