Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

A Comparison of Patient-Centered Care in Pharmacy Curricula in the United States and Europe

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

A Comparison of Patient-Centered Care in Pharmacy Curricula in the United States and Europe

Article excerpt


The global pharmacy profession has shifted from a product oriented to a patient-centered practice. (1) Consequently, pharmacy education is adapting to this paradigm. (2,3) The movement toward clinical education in pharmacy curricula has been discussed in the United States for a long time. (4) International organizations have delivered statements and positions to guide this movement. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended an appropriate balance of the following components in curricula: basic sciences, including pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences, and clinical sciences, socioeconomic and behavioral sciences, and practical experience. Moreover, WHO stressed that courses related to the implementation of patient-centered care (eg, communication skills) should be introduced. (5,6) The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) supports pharmacy education improvement while emphasizing clinical education and the importance of patient-centered care curricula. (7)

Some countries have adapted their curricula to face the changes in the pharmacy profession as it moves toward clinical and patient care. (8,9) Other countries have focused efforts on improving areas of pharmacy curricula, such as clinical pharmacy (10-12) and the social and behavioral sciences. (13-16) In the United States, the change in pharmaceutical education was marked by the creation of the doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) as the sole degree required to enter practice. (17,18) The US-based Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) standards and guidelines have been adapted to address the patient-centered practice requirements. (19) Curriculum reform has increased disciplines oriented toward providing clinical experiential models and has improved the competencies related to evidence-based practice and patient-centered care, whether in community or institutional pharmacy practice. (20,21)

European Union (EU) treaties support the mobility of professionals across Europe without requiring further training or diploma validation, meaning that a degree obtained in one EU member country is valid across the European Union. With the aim of creating a harmonized European Higher Education Area (EHEA), in June 1999, European ministers of education signed the Bologna Declaration. A system of easily comparable degrees was adopted among EU countries. (22) To date, 47 EU countries have adopted the Bologna Declaration. (23) A consequence of the Bologna process was EU legislation that dictated definitions of the knowledge, skills, and core competencies that undergraduate education should provide to students seeking to become pharmacists. (24) The pharmacy degree had to adapt to a structure based on a 2-cycle (ie, bachelor and master) degree system with at least five years of study corresponding to 300 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). This training includes at least four years of full-time theoretical and practical training administered at a university or a recognized equivalent institute,

and at least six months of university-supervised practical training through a rotation between a community pharmacy and a hospital (with a mandatory 4-month period in community pharmacy). (24,25) In line with the Bologna Declaration, the majority of EHEA countries changed their pharmacy curricula, (26,27) but it is not clear whether these modifications have led the European curricula to be more patient-centered. Thus, our aim was to analyze and compare course contents of US and EHEA undergraduate pharmacy curricula to determine the amount of patient-centered care courses.


Lists of schools of pharmacy in the United States and the EHEA were extracted from the FIP Official World List of Pharmacy Schools. (28) Small errors, such as duplicate data and schools that did not provide entry-level degrees for the profession, were removed from the list. The websites of all pharmacy schools in these two regions were located and analyzed. …

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