To enable the administration of certain point-of-care tests (POCT), amendments to regulations under the Pharmacy Act authorize pharmacy professionals in Ontario to perform the controlled act of piercing a patient’s dermis with a lancet-type device to obtain blood for purposes beyond patient demonstration and self-monitoring of chronic diseases.
Regulations made under the Laboratory and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act enable a Part A pharmacist, an intern, a registered pharmacy student or a pharmacy technician to perform certain POCT, and to take a blood sample from an individual if required, for the exclusive purpose of assisting individuals with the management of their medication to treat chronic disease. The POCT named in the regulations are:
2. Hemoglobin A1C.
4. Prothrombin time and International Normalized Ratio.
This expansion of scope of practice came into effect on July 1, 2022.
Ontario Health offers pharmacies 24/7 access to patient care information at no cost, through one of two provincial clinical viewers (ConnectingOntario and ClinicalConnect) designated by region. The viewers provide a complete history for monitoring progress of treatments, supporting chronic disease and medication management, and the delivery of Ministry of Health pharmacy programs such as MedsChecks and Pharmaceutical Opinions. The dynamic, near real-time view of patients’ health information, including laboratory test results and dispensed medications, enhances clinical decision-making and helps improve patient outcomes.
Information for Patients
As regulated healthcare professionals, pharmacy professionals help enhance patient outcomes and contribute to healthier communities and a high performing, collaborative health system. Pharmacy professionals are an important part of a patient’s healthcare team, supporting the medical management of chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. They are expected to ensure that testing is appropriate for the individual circumstances of each patient to help them manage chronic health conditions.
By knowing your pharmacy professional and the range of services they can provide, you can make more informed decisions about your care. Speak to your pharmacy professional to find out more about the expanded healthcare services they may now be offering.
Patient safety is the number one priority for the College, which has a mandate to serve and protect the public and hold the province’s pharmacists and pharmacy technicians accountable to the established regulations, standards of practice, Code of Ethics and policies and guidelines relevant to pharmacy practice. POCTs must be conducted in an appropriate setting with evidence-based Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) measures in place to prevent or reduce the risk of transmission of microorganisms. The College also ensures that pharmacies within the province meet certain standards for operation and are accredited by the College.
- Standards of Operation for Pharmacies
- Guideline – Piercing the Dermis for Demonstration and Point-of-Care Tests
- Infection Prevention and Control (Public Health Ontario)
- Infection Prevention and Control for Clinical Office Practice (Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee (PIDAC))
- Top Five High Risk Practices: Recommendations and Occupational Health and Safety Responsibilities