We are delighted to be able to share the results of our evaluation of the RPS Research Ready Accreditation Programme which has provided an important insight into how community pharmacies are engaging with research activities across the country.
The accreditation programme, run by the RPS since 2013, aims to facilitate the involvement of community pharmacy in the delivery of research across England, Scotland and Wales. The accreditation enables pharmacies to build their skills in supporting research, including the basic requirements for undertaking primary care research in the UK. There are currently nearly 200 pharmacies engaged with Research Ready. It aims to facilitate the involvement of community pharmacies in funded research, with appropriate financial reward for their time and encourages national research infrastructures and researchers to engage and utilise pharmacies as sites for research.
This evaluation assessed how our Research Ready accredited pharmacies have engaged with research, their overall experience of research and the programme itself. Over 40% of accredited pharmacies participated in the study with 75% coming from multiple independents, 19% from independents and 6% from chains.
Pharmacy leads identified professional and business development as the most important factors for becoming accredited. Of those that responded, 61% were already involved in research prior to becoming accredited and aware of the benefit research yields to improve patient care. The advantages of accreditation for the business included increased credibility as a high quality provider, service development and innovation, and building stronger links with industry and academia. Research Leads perception as the greatest advantages of the accreditation for patients and the public included, increased accessibility to research and improved quality of care and patient outcomes. Professional and business development were identified as the main driver for Research Leads to seek Research Ready Accreditation. Upon accreditation, it was evident that Research Leads often felt there were multiple and simultaneous benefits of Accreditation to the businesses they work for.
The report details nine recommendations that will enable the RPS to identify developmental opportunities for the programme and how to better engage and support community pharmacy to become research active. Dr Rachel Joynes, Head of Research and Evaluation at the RPS say 'we are keen to demystify research for community pharmacy and break down perceived barriers to research engagement. Research Ready enable pharmacy to engage in research on their own terms in a way that is meaningful and practical for both business and professional development needs'.
Dr Catherine Duggan, Director of Professional Development at the RPS commented 'research and evaluation are integral to providing better patient care and services that are evidence informed. Research ready not only allows pharmacy staff to engage with researchers and learn research skills but provides the opportunity to actively contribute to ongoing research that will impact patient care. Experience gained through research drives professional development and the opportunity to show the value of engaging community pharmacy in research makes research ready a unique opportunity for community pharmacies'.