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Are pharmacists evolving fast enough?

Are pharmacists evolving fast enough?

APRIL 2014 – With legislation to support expanded scope evolving across the country, pharmacists have to quickly adapt along with it for any hope of success. At least that was the consensus during a panel discussion on “pharmacist-driven change” hosted by the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy at its latest Pharmacy Forum.

“The teams I’ve worked with aren’t always used to pharmacists doing all these [expanded scope] services and I have to help them understand that what I’m doing helps them,” said pharmacist Bryan Gray of Thunder Bay. “Our core competency is as medication experts and that’s how we become the solution to the healthcare system.”

Gray says in his experience, taking on the role of “active drug problem solver” often reveals a host of hidden opportunities, such as blister packs, emergency renewals and medication reviews after hospital discharge. “Offering point-of-care testing for cholesterol, A1C or blood pressure, for example, becomes patient-centric care and a real learning moment for patients.”

Some seasoned pharmacists don’t realize how much they’re already doing and not billing for, said Sean Simpson, owner of Simpson’s Pharmasave in Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON, who had a 10% growth in billings over the previous year in MedChecks alone. “We even work with our delivery driver to identify who would benefit from a MedCheck at home.” He said targeting niche areas are another way to put expanded services to good use. A hugely successful weight loss service he launched in 2012 attracted a whole different clientele that are still his patients.

Pharmacist Roxy Khosroshahi, pharmacy manager at Rexall Pharmacy in Vaughn, ON, said promotion of pharmacist services at the store level is key. “It all starts with that first interaction with the patient and where that leads to,” she said. “And you really need to value your own services and embrace change using the resources available to you.” That means using technology and delegating to regulated techs and other staff so pharmacists can focus on expanded scope, she said. “It doesn’t all have to be on our shoulders.”

All panelists agreed that taking the lead in evolving with the profession was the only way to garner the most benefit from expanded scope.

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