This edition of Pharmacy Connection marks the transition of the College’s print magazine to a dynamic new digital publication that will improve timely access to important information, tips, news and updates relevant to practicing pharmacy professionals. It will also allow us to focus on publishing information that will be easy for you to find—no matter what device or platform you are using in your busy practice.
The enhanced Pharmacy Connection reflects input from registrants who shared feedback on its functionality and the type of information they valued most in their daily practice. I encourage you to continue telling us what you think of the digital edition so that we may continue to support a seamless, engaging experience going forward. Be sure to visit PharmacyConnection.ca to try the new features!
To show the relationship between continuous quality improvement (CQI), the College’s mandatory Assurance and Improvement in Medication Safety (AIMS) Program, and the importance of establishing a culture of medication safety in pharmacies, we have launched a new feature called Eye on CQI. In our first installment we take a look at how each of these are vital components in enhancing patient safety and improving patient health outcomes. Pharmacy professionals are encouraged to use AIMS to inform CQI initiatives in their own pharmacy practice, and to embrace a just culture, which is essential for identifying risks, openly sharing learnings and developing actions to reduce the chance of medication incidents or near misses from occurring or recurring.
Pharmacies across the province are working to fully implement the NAPRA Standards for Pharmacy Compounding of Non-Sterile Preparations before the January 1, 2022 deadline, and we asked our College operations advisors to share some advice. The tips and resources they have provided will help pharmacies implement the standards and improve the health and safety of both patients and pharmacy professionals.
Part of the College’s commitment to protecting the public is helping to ensure that pharmacy professionals maintain appropriate skills and knowledge throughout their careers. Through the Quality Assurance (QA) Program, the College has a mandate to ensure continued competence of the profession to provide safe, quality care. We do this by helping those who have challenges meeting standards and enabling those who are meeting standards to continually improve. In this edition, we share more about how the College has approached our QA Program, utilizing a right-touch and risk-based approach, and we focus on two key components of the Program: the knowledge assessment and practice assessments for pharmacists working in hospital or other healthcare facilities.
We continue to see the devastating effects of the opioid crisis right across Ontario, further heightened by the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the population. In 2020 alone, there were 2,426 opioid-related deaths in our province, representing a 60% rise from 2019. We know that pharmacy professionals have an important role to play in helping prevent harms to patients and communities. In this edition, we asked experts from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to highlight key guidance for pharmacy professionals as opioid use disorder treatment options continue to evolve.
I hope you enjoy this edition of Pharmacy Connection, and that you all have a safe, well-deserved summer break.
CEO and Registrar
Ontario College of Pharmacists