With extensive experience as both a hospital and aged care pharmacist, Dr. Pont understands the challenges of polypharmacy – the concurrent use of five or more medicines by a patient.
According to research, up to 95% of aged care residents experience polypharmacy, facing issues like incorrect doses and medicine interactions. In 2016, Dr. Pont pioneered a study accessing pharmacy data on medicine delivery to nursing homes. “It takes it out of a clinical trial setting and allows us to start understanding what is happening with medicines in the actual population,” she explains.
Armed with these real-world insights, Dr. Pont collaborated with NPS MedicineWise to provide facilities with personalised feedback and tools to reduce reliance on medicines. “By bringing that data in, we were giving people feedback on what was happening in their facilities, but also giving them support about things that they might use to change,” says Dr. Pont. This empowered facilities to rethink traditional doctor-dominated medicine practises.
The research highlighted using routine health data to monitor unnecessary medicine use in aged care. It informed recommendations on integrating pharmacists, data analysis, and non-drug therapies in the Australian Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety’s recent report. Dr Pont now advises expert groups on mapping out these priorities in pharmacy education. “The use of data is becoming much more essential in healthcare delivery,” she notes.
Next, Dr. Pont aims to better understand the drivers behind variations in medicine usage between aged care facilities. As incoming President of the International Society of Pharmacoepidemiology, she also collaborates globally on applying real-world data to transform pharmacy.