#WhyWeDoResearch Tweet Chat

This tweet chat was done in collaboration with @WePharmacists and @rpharms and was set up to engage pharmacy researchers regardless of sector or career stage.  There were four questions during the chat:

  1. Why do you engage in research and evaluation in pharmacy?
  2. What examples are there of pharmacy research, evidence and evaluation improving care and practice?
  3. How do you get commissioners and policy makers to engage in your evidence?
  4. What support is there to develop your research and evaluation skills in pharmacy?

During the tweetchat there were 391 tweets from 89 contributors with a total reach of 1,469,014*

Chat word cloud


Participant bio cloud

Why do you engage in research & evaluation in pharmacy?

Examples of answers to this question were as follows:

  • To develop pharmacist led services that are valued by patients and improve continuity of care in the NHS.
  • To help people
  • To improve the links between practice and academia
  • To improve patient knowledge of using medication – what a drug does… what it doesn’t do… what you can eat when you take it… what can you do whilst you take it…
  • ‘Turning patients into partners’ – improving the PPI element of pharmacy
  • It is important for patients to have access to research in order to improve treatments.
  • To develop services to benefit patients and to demonstrate the value that community pharmacy provides to the NHS.
  • Because there is a need to improve medication safety.
  • To help shape policy to improve health
  • You get to work with lots of experts such as statisticians and health economists, providing a good vehicle for learning
  • There is a desire to see better use of pharmacists and medicines within the NHS; research and evaluation is a tool to understand how effective the process is now and how it can be better.

This then developed into a general discussion on how to get involved in research.


What examples are there of pharmacy research, evidence and evaluation improving care and practice?

During this part of the discussion, some people interacted more generally and others took the opportunity to post direct links to research. Examples below:

  1. http://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/research/research-article/assessing-the-impact-of-a-targeted-pharmacist-led-anticoagulant-review-clinic/20201474.article
  2. http://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/research/research-article/integrating-community-pharmacy-testing-for-hepatitis-c-with-specialist-care/20201549.article
  3. http://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/research/research-article/pharmacy-at-home-service-for-frail-older-patients-demonstrates-medicines-risk-reduction-and-admission-avoidance/20201303.article

One user posted a direct link to a survey they were using to collect data about pharmacists’ perspectives of UK asthma care: https://uclpharmacy.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_dmtQPH9co4VnW97

Some users were curious to hear opinions of clinical pharmacists working in GP practices trial https://www.england.nhs.uk/gp/gpfv/workforce/building-the-general-practice-workforce/cp-gp/


General points that were made during the discussion

  • Pharmacists excel at research but need to improve at disseminating it
  • sometimes there is a disconnect between customer support and research and development (illustrated by one users experiences working in diabetes technology)
  • It is important for patients to have access to research to improve treatments
  • Some patients feel information gets lost between their pharmacist and their primary healthcare provider


How do you get commissioners and policy makers to engage in your evidence?

Answers to this question included:

  • Aligning research evidence with the priorities and agenda of those who make the policy and commissioning decisions
  • By working with commissioners to develop and evaluate services, in order to establish the right evidence needed for changing policy

A general discussion then developed around this making points on the following themes:

  • There is a need for more high quality evidence linking academia and pharmacy practice
  • We do research to avoid accepting the status quo; evidence is needed to inform and improve patient outcome
  • Local strategy is often published on individual commissioner websites
  • We need more practice based research. The costs of bringing new drugs into the market is billions, if no one takes them then that investment is wasted. Many researchers are frustrated that little is spent on research for things like improving medication use. Pharmacy itself needs to value research more.
  • There is a need to publish in interdisciplinary journals rather than just pharmacy journals to try and improve the impact of research. This can be done by avoiding the usual pharmacy journals and ensuring researchers are persistent when trying to get work published – being able to demonstrate impact is one of the most important facets of research. Sharing with other pharmacists, patients, policymakers and other Healthcare Professionals essential to boost impact – collaborations helps to maximise research impact and dissemination.


What support is there to develop your research and evaluation skills in pharmacy?

A general point was made here that it is essential to support pharmacy researchers at every step of their journey, whether the research is big or small.  Support is available from a wide variety of sources and it is important not to limit options to pharmacy-specific sources. Available support that was mentioned included:

  • Pharmacy Research UK support on their website
  • The Research Ready programme – large areas of the country are yet to engage in it and are therefore missing an opportunity
  • Accessible custom datasets for researchers from: openprescribing.net
  • NIHR Research Design Service
  • There were suggestions to get a mentor to help your career path
  • Conferences – practising pharmacists are often happy to share their experiences with their colleagues.
  • The Pharmaceutical Journal provides learning articles that should help to support publication:




Have a look at the transcript of the chat here.

For more information on this Tweet chat and any further chats contact PRUK at practice.research@rpharms.com

*stats and word clouds from @WePharmacists.