Supporting Innovation in Pharmacy for a Healthier Canada

Head start for hypertension certification

Ross Tsuyuki

MAY 2021 - The Hypertension Canada Professional Certification Program (HC-PCP) is available exclusively for pharmacists for a limited time before becoming available to family physicians and nurses.

Accredited for 30 CEUs by the Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy, Hypertension Canada piloted the program with pharmacists last year. Its period of exclusivity for pharmacists was scheduled to end in June 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed that forward to sometime within the next 12 months.

“Pharmacists have a head start—sign up now!” encourages Dr. Ross Tsuyuki, Director of the EPICORE health research facility at the University of Alberta. Tsuyuki spearheaded and led the development of the program with Hypertension Canada, of which he is currently President of the Board.

“This is our opportunity to take on hypertension management, just like we did for vaccinations,” says Tsuyuki. “Unfortunately, blood pressure control has been declining in Canada. Physician visits have decreased due to the pandemic and this will further decrease blood pressure control. Pharmacists are well-placed to step in.”

Upon successful completion of the program, pharmacists earn the designation of Certified Hypertension Practitioner. The course focuses on the attainment of 15 core competencies and consists of:

  • four online, self-paced modules, including content specific to pharmacy practice;
  • a hypertension registry to assist in patient management;
  • a demonstration of blood pressure management technique; and
  • the submission of three patient cases for evaluation by hypertension experts.

The pilot phase with pharmacists also marked the start of a study to demonstrate the impact the HC-PCP. The RxPATH study, a randomized trial, is on schedule to be completed in December 2021.

The origin of the HC-PCP can be traced back to 2017 to a research article authored by Carlo Marra (co-authored by Tsuyuki) about the cost-effectiveness of pharmacists in hypertension management. It was based on the RxACTION study, led by Tsuyuki and funded in part by the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy.