Supporting Innovation in Pharmacy for a Healthier Canada

"Pharmatopia" can be a reality

JANUARY 2017 - Amidst the uncertainty of pharmacy’s future, provinces like Alberta are proving that good things can evolve with pharmacy services. Speaking at the recent CFP Pharmacy Forum, Alberta Pharmacists’ Association CEO Margaret Wing spoke about the comprehensive Pharmacy Services Framework implemented in 2012 in her province—and the impressive uptake of pharmacy services since then.

Margaret Wing

“We had pharmacists thinking about what they are doing for people and we built this compensation model around our scope of practice,” she said, noting that it was a priority to ensure every one of Alberta’s four million residents would qualify for services. “We have a lot of uptake in the framework and pharmacists are now providing over 150,000 services to Albertans every month.” That includes 30,000 care plans and 80,000 prescription renewals monthly.

That’s not to say the path to this point wasn’t arduous, noted Wing. The plan went through several iterations and was supported by the ministerial order. “When injection [authority for pharmacists] started, we took some critical abuse from other healthcare providers for going there,” she said, adding that the Association had to initiate a certification course for pharmacists because there were none with that authority initially. Now pharmacists provide some 500,000 flu shots a year and 92% of Albertans know pharmacists can provide injections.  “There is a huge cultural shift going on now in Alberta,” said Wing. “Pharmacists are telling us their practice is so much better today. They are more accountable, more autonomous—it’s what we all want in our jobs.”

Technology has played a key part in supporting the advancement of pharmacist scope as well, added Wing. “With our electronic record, pharmacists are integrated and can see the translation of data in real time.”

 A report summarizing key takeaway points from CFP's Pharmacy Forum is also available for download.