Medical University of South Carolina
Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists Chapter
PAI Week Blog – Dorothy Gaddis, Drew Sauck, and Emily McTish
Blog Subject: PAI Week Reflections from MUSC
The Practice Advancement Initiative (PAI) was developed in 2010 to drive change of pharmacy practice at local levels. It started as a set of recommendations to improve and advance the pharmacy profession across the continuum of care, and evolved as healthcare and technology integrations changed with each decade. The most recent version of this initiative is PAI 2030, which aims to drive pharmacy practice sites on a local and state level (through health systems, ASHP state affiliates and SSHPs) to use tools and resources that push our profession forward. The goal is to look at the five domains: patient-centered care, pharmacist and pharmacy technician roles, education and training, technology and data science, and leadership in medication use safety, and determine what progress we can and should achieve in the next 10 years.
Over the past 20 years the role of pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and qualified pharmacy technicians has changed drastically. In the past, patients relied heavily on their primary care physicians for administration of immunizations. In 1995 only nine states authorized pharmacists to administer immunizations. Today all 50 states allow pharmacists to immunize. When immunizations were first introduced for pharmacy, pharmacists were limited to just administering the influenza vaccine. Today, pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and in some states supervised certified technicians are allowed to administer all or almost all immunizations. Pharmacy education evolved alongside the expanded pharmacy scope. In recent years, MUSC and, I am sure many other schools, have changed their curriculum to start immunization training in the spring of P1 year instead of P3 year. Changes like these have increased access to immunizations, and contributed to public health – especially during the pandemic.
So why does all this matter to students? As future practitioners it is our duty to continue to keep the profession of pharmacy ever evolving. One decade of advancement has forever changed the way patients have access to immunizations. PAI 2030 is a start of a new decade to continue to expand the scope of pharmacy. By 2030, most of us will be well adapted into our pharmacy career path, making the changes, choices, and patient care decisions that affect not only our immediate practice, but the profession overall.
Great strides are being made to increase pharmacists’ scope of practice in all settings, yet pharmacists are still not working at the top of their potential. As medication experts, pharmacists are relied on to provide optimal therapeutic recommendations, adjust and monitor therapy and perform thorough patient assessments. Although pharmacists are utilized as an integral asset to healthcare teams, they are still limited in their ability to prescribe medications. Many states now allow a collaborative practice agreement under the supervision of a physician. In the future, we hope to see pharmacists have more autonomy in their prescribing rights, where appropriate. In the PAI 2030 recommendations, under the section pharmacist role, education, and training, part B2 states how “pharmacists aim to expand their scope of practice including prescribing rights to optimize patient care”. As the most accessible healthcare workers, prescribing ability can help overcome accessibility barriers in communities. For example, few states have allowed pharmacists to prescribe contraceptives in order to increase access to the community and ultimately lead to a lower rate of unplanned pregnancies. With the increased
demands that the COVID pandemic has placed on healthcare, we hope that pharmacists are allowed to grow in their responsibilities to make a greater impact.
A strong example of pharmacy value and impact has been the pandemic. Pharmacists across the country have stepped up to the challenge of organizing clinics and administering COVID-19 vaccines. As a profession, pharmacy has always been prepared to take on this responsibility and we strive to maintain this increased involvement in patient care into the future. State-authorized pharmacy interns and qualified pharmacy technicians (both under supervision) are also permitted to administer COVID-19 vaccines to help with efficient roll-out. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) expanded the ability of pharmacists, state-authorized pharmacy interns, and qualified pharmacy technicians to provide vaccines to children age 3-18. This will allow parents a greater opportunity to keep their children up to date on their recommended vaccines and get them back to in-person schooling safely. It is the hope that these authorizations given to pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and pharmacy technicians will continue once the pandemic is over.
As future practitioners, it is our responsibility to continue creating awareness of the impact of the pharmacy profession and the benefits we provide to patient care. As student societies of health-systems pharmacy, we need to continue promoting the value of pharmacists, educating our peers, families, and friends about these initiatives, and build a strong foundation for pharmacy. While PAI 2030 week concluded in February for most SSHPs, the change continues daily. We encourage you to continue to advocate for our profession and work with one another through advocacy and education. Our SSHP put together this video educating our peers about what the pharmacy future can look like. What creative projects has your SSHP conducted to advance the profession? Share in the comments below.
1. Hogue MD, Grabenstein JD, Foster SL, Rothholz MC. Pharmacist involvement with immunizations: a decade of professional advancement. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2006 Mar-Apr;46(2):168-79; quiz 179-82. doi: 10.1331/154434506776180621. Erratum in: J Am Pharm Assoc (Wash DC). 2006 May-Jun;46(3):308. PMID: 16602227.
2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “HHS Expands Access to Childhood Vaccines during COVID-19 Pandemic.” HHS.gov, US Department of Health and Human Services, 21 Jan. 2021, www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/08/19/hhs-expands-access-childhood-vaccines-during-covid-19-pandemic.html 3. “PAI Recommendations.” ASHP, 2020, www.ashp.org/Pharmacy-Practice/PAI/PAI-Recommendations