Optimizing Practice Strategy

Optimizing Practice Strategy: Optimizing Practice to Maximize Patient Outcomes
The Strategy:

The Optimizing Practice Strategy supports the College’s strategic priority toward enhancing system and patient outcomes through collaboration and optimization of the current scopes of practice for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

As pharmacy and other professions adapt to the transforming health care landscape, there is a need for greater collaboration to support these broader system changes. In addition, patients’ expectations and needs are evolving as innovation in healthcare delivery continues to progress. The Optimizing Practice Strategy will help the College focus on safety and quality improvement while using data and information to make evidence informed decisions.

By focusing on professional engagement, the Strategy strives to improve inter- and intra-professional collaboration. This includes developing stronger relationships between pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and other healthcare professionals.

The Strategy also sets out to evaluate practice models to identify and test patient-centered care and highlight characteristics and facilitators of best practice. Finally, the Strategy will help the College to examine ways that data can be analyzed and better used to understand the performance of the profession and how it interacts within the healthcare system.

The College has begun foundational work to understand optimal practice within the pharmacy setting. This has included a jurisdictional scan and academic literature review to develop a sense of what other jurisdictions are doing to encourage optimal practice.

In April 2019, the Ontario Government announced expanded scope of practice for health professions to encourage more patient-centered care. As the College works to implement this new scope, this is an ideal opportunity to see how to optimize existing practice to create a strong foundation for the future. More information around expanded scope and its timelines can be found on the Expanded Scope of Practice page of our website

Read the Optimizing Practice Strategy: Optimizing Practice to Maximize Patient Outcomes.

Ontario Pharmacy White Paper

Pharmacy in the 21st Century, a white paper developed by Ontario Pharmacy Evidence Network (OPEN), was commissioned by the College to analyze the opportunities available to utilize the full scope of pharmacy practice over the next decade. The resulting paper has stimulated discussion around the future of pharmacy and provides the insight and foundational knowledge to guide the Strategy. It will continue to be used throughout the implementation of the Strategy.

Current Work and Next Steps:

The College has initiated activities that aim to identify how to best support pharmacy professionals in practicing optimally within the healthcare system and will consider how to use the three mechanisms of the Strategy as the profession integrates its new scope of practice over time.

Outlined below is the work that has begun within the three mechanisms of the Optimizing Practice Strategy.

Professional Engagement:
  • Practice Assessments of Pharmacy Technicians: Practice assessments of pharmacy technicians in community and hospital settings were piloted in the fall of 2018 and launched in January 2019. These interactions will provide the College the opportunity to engage with pharmacy technicians and gain a further understanding of the possible facilitators and barriers to integration within pharmacy and optimal practice.
  • Focus Groups: Focus groups were held in the fall of 2018 with the goal of understanding barriers, facilitators and characteristics of factors that impact the ability of pharmacy professionals to practice optimally within the healthcare system. Discussions were held with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians from both community and hospital practice settings, and moderated by a third-party facilitator. The College has been guiding the implementation of the Strategy based on the feedback provided by the focus groups’ discussions.
Practice Models:
  • Demonstration Projects: Demonstration projects that address barriers to optimal practice and leverage enablers are being identified and tested using continuous quality improvement (CQI) methodologies. These are intended to be collaborative efforts that involve community pharmacy professionals and primary care practitioners with the overall goal of improving patient care and professional engagement through scalable projects.

The first demonstration project is in partnership with the North East Local Health Integration Network and Health Quality Ontario (HQO). A practice model that effectively links community pharmacy to primary care to implement HQO’s Quality Standard for Major Depression has been developed by a team of community pharmacists and primary care practitioners. The project aims to improve the experience for patients with Major Depression Disorder by bettering the supports provided with their medication.

OCP will continue to explore opportunities in other areas that can be addressed through practice models that can be scaled across the province to improve patient care and facilitate professional engagement.

  • Quality Indicators: In 2018, the College began work with HQO to develop a set of standardized quality indicators for pharmacy to support the College’s growing focus on taking an outcomes-based approach to pharmacy regulation. These indicators have been finalized and will help understand the impact of pharmacy on patient and broader health system outcomes while promoting a better understanding of overall pharmacy performance.
  • Professional Development and Remediation Framework (PDR): PDR is a College-wide initiative that governs how the College approaches and handles development and remediation for pharmacy professionals. Data from pharmacy and pharmacist assessments, committee decisions and other College programs are used to inform and drive the development of targeted education by external education providers and applicable College resources to address identified gaps in competency among pharmacy professionals.
  • Assurance and Improvement in Medication Safety (AIMS) Program: AIMS is a mandatory standardized medication safety program for all pharmacy professionals in the province in which medication incidents and near misses are recorded and analyzed to support continuous quality improvement and patient safety. De-identified data obtained through the AIMS Program is analyzed by an independent team of medication safety experts to identify trends and areas of risk to support system-wide quality improvement by providing actionable insights to pharmacy professionals and other health-system partners.