MPA | Pharmacy News

If Not You, Then Who?

Posted on February 15, 2018 in: Member News

By John Clark, Pharm.D., M.S, BCPS, FASHP, MSHP president-elect, associate chief of pharmacy, Michigan Medicine and clinical associate professor, University of Michigan College of Pharmacy, Ann Arbor

Collectively, we as a pharmacy profession (pharmacists and pharmacy technicians) are practicing at a time of amazing opportunity. Our legislative leaders may soon pass a bill that grants pharmacists provider status. Many thousands of hours of advocacy have led to this point. As we contemplate our role as a pharmacist provider, we must ask ourselves one question: What are we doing right now to be prepared for recognition as providers?

As pharmacists, we can prepare ourselves by working with our systems to participate in medical leadership delegated prescribing in health-systems and using the Michigan Collaborative Practice Agreements to participate in direct provision of care. As you think about what that might be, consider the mundane (IV to PO switching), to the complex (therapeutic anticoagulation). How will you know what patients need from pharmacy at your organization? Open a dialogue with physicians, nurses, patients, dieticians, respiratory therapists and the therapy areas. Where are current gaps in patient care that pharmacists or their extenders can help address?

How do we find pharmacist time to provide such services? Just look around. We have many highly trained pharmacy technicians in the State who can take ownership of the medication distribution process. Pharmacist final checks are required; however, think of the whole process before the pharmacist check as being owned by pharmacy technicians. Our pharmacists’ paths to roles as providers are as close as our pharmacy technicians we train and empower.

Released in 2017, information collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on collaborative practice agreements can be found here.

These resources and data can allow us today to prepare for advanced roles. The advanced roles needed are as diverse as the patients we treat. Our initiative, drive and ability to innovate are the only rate limiting steps to pharmacy advancement.

Today, as we consider future provider status, take steps now to prepare yourself and your health-system for pharmacists as providers. The Michigan Society of Health-System Pharmacists needs you as individual practitioners to embrace the role of direct patient care providers and share your learning with each other. The power of collaboration is strong. In the spirit of President McDonald’s theme for the year, “Demonstrating our Value”, let’s develop progressive pharmacy services our patients need and deserve.

As you think carefully around the development and implementation of clinical services, please be prepared to answer the question, “If not you, then who?” Let’s seize the opportunity that sits before us!

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