Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Assessment of the Pharmacogenomics Educational Needs of Pharmacists

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Assessment of the Pharmacogenomics Educational Needs of Pharmacists

Article excerpt


The science of pharmacogenomics explores the contribution of genetic variations to drug response among individuals given the same drug and dose on the same schedule. (1,2) While this concept has been discussed in academic and research circles, the completion of the Human Genome Project (HGP) in 2003 made the concept of personalized medicine more tangible to clinicians. (3,4) Four years after the HGP was completed, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced labeling changes to warfarin to include the potential usefulness of genetic testing and, in the past year, also mandated a black box warning regarding pharmacogenomics concerns associated with clopidogrel metabolism. (5,6) The FDA has mandated pharmacogenomics testing for trastuzumab, cetuximab, maraviroc, and dasatinib, and highly recommended testing for abacavir, mercaptopurine, carbamazepine, and irinotecan, among others. (7) The FDA's guiding statements for manufacturers marked a new era in which patient-specific dosing strategies are being developed for commonly prescribed medications. (8)

As point-of-care providers and drug experts, pharmacists are uniquely positioned in the healthcare system to educate providers and patients about interpreting and applying the results of pharmacogenomics testing. (9) Pharmacists' education and background also enable them to participate in pharmacogenomics conceptual development and practice integration. (10) Through these activities, pharmacists have the potential to be an integral part of the new age of personalized medicine.

Despite the natural fit of pharmacists with pharmacogenomics, the concept remains in its infancy. (11) Educational gaps in pharmacogenomics have been documented in academia. (12) Accrediting institutions such as the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), and the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) have recommended the implementation of coordinated pharmacogenomics educational requirements and supported efforts that assess patient outcomes, improve drug dosing, and predict therapeutic response. (13-16)

Little is known about pharmacists' opinions regarding pharmacogenomics and their impact on the profession or pharmacists' self-perceived confidence in the practical application of pharmacogenomics information in the scientific literature. The objective of this study was to assess the pharmacogenomics educational needs of pharmacists within a large, academic, multi-campus healthcare system.


A 19-question electronic, needs-assessment survey instrument was developed in collaboration with the institutional survey research support center. (17-20) The survey instrument was composed of 2 sections, the first of which evaluated educational exposure, significance to clinical practice, perceived roles of the individual pharmacist and pharmacist profession, anticipated monetary implications, and self-assessed confidence regarding pharmacogenomics concepts. Responses were based on a 5-point Likert scale: strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, and strongly agree. For ease of interpretation and analysis, the final results were collapsed into 3 categories: agree, neutral, and disagree.

The second section of the survey instrument contained multiple-choice questions to assess demographic information, including the pharmacist's practice setting, amount of time spent at the bedside, geographic location, years in practice, and preferred learning format for future education. The survey instrument was assembled and critiqued by the internal survey research center and field-tested by 6 pharmacists to refine survey items and enhance content validity.

The survey method used was a census-sample process, in that all known members of the population were surveyed. The target population included inpatient, outpatient, and administrative pharmacists in a large, academic, multi-campus healthcare system. …

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