ACP supports pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to perform with confidence and at a high level through the work of our pharmacy practice consultants. Our consultants work with pharmacy professionals to improve performance by conducting practice and operations assessments in pharmacy practices across Alberta. The consultants’ primary goal is to promote quality patient care and ensure the safety of all Albertans who access pharmacy services.
Practice consultants function as coaches, mentors, partners, and teachers. They are pharmacists who understand the challenges pharmacy professionals face each day in their practice. The consultants work closely with pharmacy teams to help improve their workflow, adhere to standards of practice, and empower teams to deliver quality care to their patients.
- Routine assessments
- Routine assessments focus on key practice areas including patient assessment, care planning, monitoring, documentation, and quality assurance programs for reporting and investigating drug incidents. ACP aims to assess each pharmacy every two to three years.
- Six-week consultation and 12-week follow-up
- These assessments are intended to provide pharmacy teams with ongoing support for quality improvement. Practice consultants focus on multiple interventions over a short period to promote sustained practice and behaviour changes. At six weeks, the consultants monitor change, identify barriers, modify goals, and provide support to teams as required. At 12 weeks, another follow-up is performed to reassess the performance goals set during the routine assessment. Some pharmacies may receive additional consultations as needed.
How pharmacy teams have improved their practice following visits from our pharmacy practice consultants
“The guidance I received on improving my documentation of clinical services (especially care plans and follow ups) was very helpful and got me thinking on a broader scale about ensuring processes are in place to ensure better continuity of care with other pharmacy professionals.”
“Better care and connectivity through increased interaction with patients as we started discussing indications and outcomes for prescribed meds.”
“We have become more efficient in identifying patients who qualify for care plans. Also, our record keeping has been revised to be more organized and easier to access.”
- Opioid guidelines – Although many pharmacy teams initially had challenges implementing ACP’s opioid guidelines introduced in October 2017, practice consultants have noted improved documentation and monitoring of patients using opioid medications. These skills are transferable to other therapeutic areas, which is a positive development.
- Patient relationships – Practice consultants have observed pharmacy professionals building great, professional relationships with patients. Individuals are asking pharmacists more questions and being counselled more often, leading to improved verbal communication skills for pharmacists and patients achieving their goals of therapy.
- Netcare – More pharmacies have gained access to Netcare’s real time integration, allowing pharmacy teams to upload dispensing transactions, giving all health practitioners instantaneous access to the most accurate medication history via the electronic health record.
Common opportunities for improvement
- Integrating pharmacy technicians into pharmacy teams – ACP has developed a tool to facilitate discussion about the roles and responsibilities of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Through increased awareness, our goal is for pharmacy technicians to be better integrated into practice, and to practise to their full scope.
- Technology – Improved or updated software systems to support documentation processes can contribute to a pharmacy meeting ACP’s Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians, and Standards of Practice for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies. Some pharmacies continue to operate without the ability to scan documents or with restricted internet access (which could be used to download care plan forms or check for email alerts).
- Effective collaboration with other prescribers – Pharmacists need to build trusting, professional relationships with other healthcare providers to deliver optimum care to individuals.
- Communication between pharmacy team members – Fewer overlapping shifts and busier workflow can inhibit communication among team members.
- Independent pharmacies – Insufficient size and layout can limit the availability of space necessary for confidential and private discussions with patients.