by Nancy Lum-Wilson, CEO and Registrar
I’ve often commented that we can’t improve what we can’t measure. Many of the initiatives you will have seen or heard about coming from the College over the past two years focus on data and measurement to inform our decision making. And for good reason: because it’s the only way to quantify the impact of pharmaceutical care and it’s the right thing to do for patients.
As health professionals, we’re all committed to providing high quality patient care and to looking at ways that we can improve what we do, and how we do it, to make sure patients receive the best, safest care possible. As a regulator, we are driven by the desire to be responsive to societal expectations, to be a collaborative and influential contributor to quality and safe patient care in the province, and to use data and information to guide our decisions and improve upon our own work to satisfy our fiduciary responsibilities.
When we first initiated our work on the development of quality indicators for pharmacy with Health Quality Ontario back in the fall of 2017, we did so with the understanding that this was, in many ways, new territory not just for us as a regulator but also for pharmacy. But we felt it was more important than ever that we take the lead and work collaboratively with pharmacy professionals and our broader health system partners to move forward with this exciting work that will undoubtedly help shape and strengthen the quality of pharmacy care in the province for the future.
The roundtable exercise we held last summer was a validation that pharmacy, the health system and regulatory stakeholders see tremendous value in the development of quality indicators for pharmacy. It will equip us – including the public – with the information we all need to understand our work better, and what we can do to continually improve.
While we understand that a number of companies such as Green Shield are developing their own set of indicators for reimbursement, the motivation of the College to develop a common set of outcome indicators for pharmacy is entirely different. To be clear, this initiative is about improving patient and health system outcomes. It is about establishing a way for all of us – as a system and as a sector – to measure the impact of pharmacy care on patient outcomes and using this knowledge to improve the care that we provide. For example, we can use measures to understand the impact of pharmacist involvement in transitions of care, or in reducing medication incidents on emergency room usage, or even on reducing the devastation from the opioid crisis that Ontario currently finds itself in.
That is truly an important goal for us as a regulator, and indeed for all of you. And it is one that we are proud to lead together with our health system partners and the 20,000 pharmacy professionals who care for patients every day in Ontario.
As we move this work forward, we will be implementing even more opportunities to engage and involve pharmacy professionals on this initiative. Please be sure to follow the latest news from the College. If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to email the Policy team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.