Last week, here in Cleveland, the Cleveland Clinic hosted a summit for ASHP leaders to promote the PPMI. It was quite monumental- prominent pharmacy leaders from ASHP and from strong academic hospitals traveled from all over the country to Cleveland, to speak on the growth of the PPMI initiative and how it can apply to our hospital.
And to further this, this wasn’t just a summit, which was stated in the presentation- a summit, being simply a meeting of individuals. This was more a summit that would lead to an initiative- an initiative to implement the ideas taken from the gathering of various individuals and backgrounds to further the advancement of pharmacy. There were various topics that were highlighted on by the speakers:
On History and where we are today: Back in 1969, a pharmacist’s role was to simply dispense the medication. If a question was posed, it was directed to a physician. The role of a pharmacist today has changed into that of a primary caretaker, managing patient’s medications as thoroughly as possible. In today’s current setting, however, pharmacy is very centralized- staying in our satellites, with only the specialists rounding (being as few as there are, per the number of patients). Thus, the PPMI wants to enhance the role of a pharmacy by bringing the pharmacist closer to the patient, expanding the role of pharmacy technicians, utilizing the new and more effective technologies, and promoting the safe and effective use of medications to prevent future health care errors to come.
On the Future of pharmacy: Speakers of the summit mentioned how pharmacy is transitioning quickly on all levels- through capital infrastructures and corporations. Out of the 300 million patients admitted into health systems every year, 80% of them get prescriptions. Along with these 300 million patients, there’s 57,000 pharmacists, 3.3 million nurses, and 980,000 physicians. Among that, CMS initiatives are being made, health collaborative plans are developing, and all the more, pharmacy is evolving within itself. How do we effectively use our skills in the growing patient population and healthcare system?
Technology is helping pharmacists achieve personal care to the patients. It was mentioned that the “TATAI”- Technology, Automation, Technicians, Artificial Intelligence (like that of Watson), are lessening the time that pharmacist spend in front of orders and gives them more ample time to provide care for the patient. Why is this important? The speaker stated that pharmacists need more of an “instant rapport”- where the patient feels like they know their pharmacist by name. Instantly, the Cheers song popped into my head. “Where everyone know you by your name…” And I agree. If you, the pharmacist, are verifying a patient’s orders, shouldn’t the patient at least know who’s behind all of their medications.
In the future, it was stated that pharmacy needs to exhibit an “instant executive presence.” Leaders within pharmacy need to be developed- one of the speakers posed the question of how many new pharmacists will tell their preceptors, “I want to develop my leadership skills”- in which the preceptor should be receptive and further their development. Out of the 2500 PGY1 and PGY2 residencies this year, only 50-75 were administration focused. How are we developing more pharmacists primed for leadership?
So, what do we do: Various administers of well known, respectable hospitals, then spoke about how their pharmacy practice models are being implemented, and among them, there were common themes:
-Equal Importance: There are no divisions of pharmacists. Equal accountability lies on the clinical specialist, clinical generalist, and the staff pharmacist- all who assume equally prominent roles. With all three roles, every single question posed to pharmacists can be answered from research to therapeutic knowledge to production to who knows what- having this team of pharmacists is inevitable. Training could be done for all the pharmacists in areas that they may be lacking- workflow processes, knowledge areas, and so on.
-Decentralizing: The whole main point of having the PPMI. Different teams are made for certain areas (cardio, internal med, etc) and provide care on a 24/7 level. Of course, one of the main problems is that although this a great concept…how are we going to have enough individuals to cover these main areas without having to hire in a whole lot of new pharmacists? The answer?- residents and pharmacy students.
- Pharmacy schools and practice model: One of the main ways to foster leadership within pharmacy is to begin early, in pharmacy school. Some hospitals contain the pharmacy “observational” model- simply where the student comes in on a daily basis, and just watches what the pharmacist does. I, personally, would have probably fallen asleep if I had rotations like that, so why not foster leadership skills when students are so willing to do it? And the same goes to the resident- some residency programs hand-hold their students through the program- throw responsibilities to these students and residents, and they can be an asset to the PPMI model, providing manpower where there needs to be. Sure, the preceptor- or the attending pharmacist- will decide what is capable for these individuals, but not only is it a cost effective method to help the PPMI model, but it also is fostering future pharmacy students into leaders to sustain the PPMI model.
Lots of change awaits for pharmacy. It was definitely exciting to see leaders within the PPMI, academic hospitals (including my alum!) and our current workforce all collaborating together for the advancement of pharmacy. A revolution within pharmacy awaits……