“When you're finished changing, you're finished.” -Benjamin Franklin
To continue the great momentum of the Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative (PPMI) in Indiana, the Indiana Pharmacy Alliance/Indiana Society of Health-System Pharmacists has launched a new Indiana PPMI Taskforce. The task force is comprised of eleven of Indiana’s forward-thinking leaders in health-system pharmacy, who also span the entire spectrum of hospitals, from small rural ones to the largest health system in the state. They have all come together with the same mission of transforming and enhancing the care and services provided by pharmacists for all Indiana residents.
During our inaugural Taskforce meeting an interesting discussion was sparked by a comment from one of the members regarding the need to create an impetus for practice change in our State. For lack of a better metaphor it was asked: How do you get everyone quickly off a sinking ship if no one actually believes it is, in fact, sinking?
Now, I will be the first to admit that this metaphor may be a bit dramatic since very few if any of us would suggest that our profession is “sinking.” Yet, the concept holds true. How do you create awareness among our frontline staff and colleagues that the PPMI is even needed given the current healthcare climate? If all these people need to change, but don’t know that change is even needed, how is progress to be made? As you may have noticed I have more rhetorical questions than actual answers at this point, but here is another metaphor to consider:
Take the average office fire alarm. When a fire alarm goes off in your building, and you believe it’s just drill, how quickly do you really move? If you are anything like me, you first finish the email you were writing, gulp down the last few sips of coffee, make sure you get your wallet, your keys, and maybe lock your door; now, what if you actually see smoke and flames across the hall? In the latter case I guarantee I drop my coffee and sprint to the nearest exit (after all women and children of course). The key difference in these two scenarios is the simple fact that if I can see the building on fire on motivation for a change has been created. This impetus directly impacts my behavior, resulting in a quick and decisive change.
With that said, we certainly don’t want to wait until our profession is “on fire” or “sinking” to help create a reason to change. Instead, the onus is on us and our fellow leaders to continue the ongoing pursuit of educating others on why the right time is NOW and why the recommendations and objectives of the PPMI are a great way to assess our current practice and drive positive changes. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but can assure you that as our Indiana PPMI Taskforce moves forward we will be ever-mindful of creating an impetus for change, thus ensuring our momentum is carried down to the frontline, all the way to the patients we serve. Great businessman Jack Welch said it best: “Change before you have to.” In this case, the alternative may be going down with the ship.