The College has launched the Community Practice Environment Initiative that will involve the active collaboration and participation of pharmacy stakeholders with the initial goal of understanding confirmed and potential barriers to professional autonomy and patient safety in community pharmacy. The first phase of this initiative will be aimed at developing a set of essential shared accountability principles.
It is expected that these principles will guide the development of specific solutions and strategies for the sector to further strengthen the quality and safety of pharmacy care, and position the profession for ongoing success as pharmacy plays an increasingly important role in the health and wellbeing of Ontarians.
Safe patient care is everyone’s business, and ensuring the safety and quality in pharmacy at all times is a shared accountability.
Over the past few years, the College has conducted a number of engagement activities with registrants including Regional Meetings and open consultations and informally through direct communication and dialogue related to various key initiatives and programs designed to promote safe, quality pharmacy care. One of the common themes in the feedback the College has consistently received through these engagement activities is related to the community pharmacy practice environment.
Specific concerns that have been raised by registrants include workload and other pressures to meet operational expectations and the impact this has on professional autonomy and registrants’ ability to meet practice expectations. This feedback is now being expressed in nearly every consultation exercise.
Along with this feedback, medication safety data anonymously reported by pharmacy professionals through the AIMS Program is providing important insights into various causal factors that may be contributing to errors and near misses. In the first AIMS data snapshot published last September along with the inaugural expert bulletin, staffing, workload and environmental factors were the single most commonly noted contributors, comprising 23.6% of the 4,426 incidents reported by onboarded community pharmacies. The availability of this data and the ongoing feedback being expressed by registrants may suggest that workload and staffing related challenges are top-of-mind for many community pharmacy professionals as a significant challenge that can have an impact on quality patient care.
Patients, too, have provided us feedback through our public engagement activities about their ability to access care in increasingly busy pharmacies and the need for adequate staffing as expanded scope of practice for Ontario pharmacists is being considered.
The College shares the view that the practice environment must enable and support the provision of safe, quality patient-centred care at all times and any barriers to achieving that goal must be addressed collaboratively.
To move this work forward, the College has initiated stakeholder communication and established a Community Practice Environment Advisory Group that comprises community pharmacy owners/operators, association representatives, Designated Managers, staff pharmacists and pharmacy technicians and patients.
Terms of Reference have been developed: Community Practice Environment Advisory Group Terms of Reference.
Yes. There will be several opportunities for registrants, patients/caregivers, pharmacy and other stakeholders to provide input and feedback throughout the initiative and the work stemming from it through a comprehensive stakeholder engagement strategy. These opportunities will include surveys, webinars and/or focus groups and other engagement mechanisms which will be conducted throughout the life of the initiative. Input from all stakeholders will inform the work of both the Advisory Group and the College.
The College completed recruitment for the Advisory Group in March 2020 following an open-call for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, patients and caregivers earlier in the year. The Advisory Group is also comprised of appointed members representing owners/operators and professional associations. A list of the membership of the Advisory Group can be found in the Terms of Reference.
The College will post regular updates on its website and through eConnect and Pharmacy Connection. This will include summaries of Advisory Group discussion and decisions/recommendations, progress updates on the work toward the development of accountability principles and other supporting information considered by the Advisory Group.
As well, in addition to focus groups, registrants, stakeholders and members of the public will have ongoing opportunities to provide input through surveys and other engagement activities.
Aided by the insights gleaned through various engagement activities, the use of publicly reported data and best practices, the Advisory Group will guide the development of the principles which will then be presented to the College Board of Directors for approval.