MPA | Pharmacy News

By Michelle Dehoorne, Pharm.D., patient care services manager, St. John Hospital and Medical Center, Detroit

Efficient, high quality, affordable care is the “triple aim” in healthcare that we are all challenged to meet. Numerous articles demonstrate how pharmacists contribute to the healthcare team to meet aspects of the triple aim. Through appropriate medication management, pharmacists:

  • Ensure stewardship of resources.
  • Reduce unnecessary clinical and operational variation.
  • Improve clinical outcomes.

For several decades, pharmacists have focused on reducing supply costs through appropriate medication therapy, formulary and supply chain management. Pharmacists provide integral input in development of treatment guidelines, order sets and criteria for medication therapy which is critical in reducing variation. In the last several years, our profession has improved documentation and gained recognition for improving patient outcomes and quality measures. Lastly, pharmacists can also improve the patient and provider experience. Pharmacy technicians support our pharmacists so that we can be successful in each of these roles.

As pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, we believe we are vital in each of these areas. However, not everyone on the healthcare team or leadership may readily come to the same conclusion. When medical staff and leadership develop their strategic plans to ascertain the triple aim, pharmacists are not typically hard coded into them. They overlook the valuable role pharmacists play in the success of the team and the care of our patients. Despite the documentation in the literature of how we provide benefit, we are often challenged to garner the financial support to expand or initiate new services that improve patient outcomes and quality care.

A critical step in changing this pattern may be connected to the three aims as well: improved documentation of our ability to comprehensively improve the triple aim, credentialing and privileging. The need for greater recognition and understanding on the value, skill set and knowledge that pharmacy professionals bring to the multi-disciplinary healthcare team is important to achieving the ongoing success of our profession. First, a greater pool of research that demonstrates our comprehensive role in each aspect of the triple aim is necessary. This task will be time consuming and often difficult to demonstrate when quality outcomes are linked to a team and not an individual practitioner. Second, credibility and demonstration of our competence through credentialing are also needed. And lastly, privileging, when combined with credentialing, can provide opportunities for expanding our roles and advancing recognition for our contributions to the triple aim and the patient/provider experience.

In Michigan, the role of formal credentialing and privileging for pharmacists and pharmacy technician is limited. Credentialing provides a method to gain credibility with other members of the healthcare team, providers and leadership as it can improve their understanding of the competence, skill set and knowledge that pharmacists hold. Currently, each of our organizations use many different processes, words and training to achieve staff competence. Credentialing demonstrates a standard that can be accomplished all in an effort to demonstrate the overall value of Michigan pharmacy professionals. 

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