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PHCY510 Evidence-Based Practice

Fundamental skills and knowledge for medicines optimisation, including understanding the patient, clinical assessment, goal setting, critical appraisal, and designing an evidence-based plan of care.

PHCY510 will focus on foundational skills required for medicines optimisation. The paper consists of two structured modules each focused on a core principle; 1) understanding the evidence-base, and, 2) Understanding drug response. The teaching and learning activities will be primarily patient-centred supported by theory where needed. A particular emphasis throughout the paper will be the practical application of knowledge to meet the needs of individual patients. Students will complete a series of structured exercises, group and individual assignments and discussion board activities throughout the semester. An active learning environment, where students engage with their peers and tutors on a regular basis, is encouraged and supported.

Paper title Evidence-Based Practice
Paper code PHCY510
Subject Pharmacy
EFTS 0.25
Points 30 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,018.75
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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PHCY 541, PHCX 541
Limited to
PGCertPharm, PGDipClinPharm

Dr Dan Wright

Teaching staff

Paper Co-ordinator Associate Professor Dr Dan Wright

Paper Structure

The paper consists of two structured modules.

Module 1: Understanding drug response
In the first module, students will focus on understanding and predicting variability in drug response between people. We will explore the impact of known sources of variability on drug response such as body size, organ function, co-morbidities, drug interactions, aging, pregnancy, and the maturation of physiology after birth. There will be a patient-focused approach using teaching cases, with an emphasis on understanding laboratory investigations and biomarkers of drug response.

Module 2: Understanding the evidence
In the second module, students will examine how treatment guidelines, and other forms of evidence, can inform the choice of medicines and will then apply this information to design an evidence-based treatment plan. Teaching will focus on searching the literature, evidence-based medicine, critical appraisal, the quantification of risk-benefit, and evidence-based clinical decision-making. Students will be expected to critically examine the population-level evidence for drug effectiveness and safety presented in the medical literature and to apply this to patient-care.

Teaching Arrangements

One compulsory 2-day weekend workshop: 26-27 March and 6-8 2-hour video conferences (usually 2 hours).


Textbooks are not required for this paper.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

By the end of this paper, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of evidence based medicine and information retrieval
  • Critically appraise published studies in the medical literature
  • Design an evidence-based plan of care
  • Interpret basic laboratory values, and measures used to monitor drug therapy
  • Predict and mitigate altered drug response between people to prevent drug-related harm

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system