Posted on May 15, 2018 in: Innovative Practice
By Rebecca Maynard, Pharm.D., director of pharmacy, Ascension Borgess Medical Center, Kalamazoo
When asked how we demonstrate our value as health-system pharmacists and pharmacist extenders, most of us would respond with the work we do performing direct patient care on a day-to-day basis. We know that our patients are better off because we are part of their care team, from making sure they have the right medications documented and continued during each care transition, to ensuring they receive evidence-based medication therapy for a variety of disease states in multiple settings. Those who work with us on a daily basis - physicians, nurses and patients - are quick to speak up about how invaluable we are to direct patient care.
But what are we doing to show that value in a way that will enable us to not just maintain our current foothold, but to extend into areas that we have never been before? I think of our newly revised MSHP Vision and Mission Statements:
MSHP’s vision is that all people in Michigan have pharmacy care providers to ensure optimal, safe and effective medication use.
MSHP’s mission is to provide leadership, support, and a collective voice for its members as they practice and advance the pharmacy profession to achieve desired health outcomes through optimal medication use.
If we can’t collectively express our value in a consistent and meaningful way, how can we ever reach our Vision? Our Mission guides our organization to provide what is needed for each of our members to help demonstrate our value, and the theme of this year is aptly ambitious. As care shifts from inpatient to outpatient service models, pharmacy correspondingly is working toward providing the right care, at the right time, in the right setting.
Pharmacists are one of the most underleveraged population health managers according to Lindsay Conway, managing director of the Pharmacy Executive Forum. Preventable medication errors have been estimated to account for $21 billion in healthcare spending every year, and when evaluating numerous publications, it is evident that pharmacists and pharmacist extenders have a variety of opportunities to reduce medication errors through opportunities like inpatient rounding, medication reconciliation and post-discharge education. Because of a lack of reimbursement for pharmacists’ time, however, few health-systems have fully committed to establishing these pharmacist roles. We can work to overcome this through collaborative practice agreements, as discussed in John Clark’s article in the February 2018 MSHP Monitor, and through advocating for pharmacists as providers within section 1861(s)(2) of the Social Security Act.
Many of the MSHP committee charges created this year address ways for us to collaborate and share best practices in a variety of different settings. In the Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee, for example, we are working on revamping the website to include initiatives completed in acute care, long-term care and ambulatory care settings. The call for our membership is to consider what you and your colleagues are doing to demonstrate our value (what initiatives have you completed, what metrics do you use, how do you engage your C-suite and executive leadership in recognizing the role that pharmacists have) and to take that information to the next step. Please reach out to an MSHP Board member or committee chairperson and share what we can do to demonstrate our value so that all people in Michigan have pharmacy care providers to ensure optimal, safe and effective medication use.