One of the priorities of the College, defined within what are known as “objects” outlined in the Health Professions Procedural Code within the Regulated Health Professions Act is the development of programs to assure the quality of pharmacy practice in the province. There are a number of ways that we do this, from practice assessments of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians and operational assessments of community and hospital pharmacies, to the implementation of a standardized medication safety program, to the provision of a formal Quality Assurance Program.
Each of these, and many other programs and initiatives led, coordinated and supported by the College are vitally important parts of our responsibility as a regulator. However, it’s important not to view these simply as programs and activities that you participate in; they should also be considered valuable mechanisms to support you and/or your pharmacy to help you provide the best possible care to your patients. While we have a regulatory responsibility to uphold, our desire is to work collaboratively with the entire profession and the sector on matters of joint importance in order to maintain, and strengthen, the confidence and trust the public has in pharmacy.
In this issue of Pharmacy Connection, we provide an update on our work to evolve the Quality Assurance Program which we hope will help better explain how the process works, what it involves and why we do it. It’s important for everyone to understand this process and the activities in which we engage the profession so that the experience and the outcomes associated with this work are maximized for your benefit.
You will read about our latest work in helping the profession and sector reduce the risk of medication errors in pharmacy through the roll out of a Pharmacy Safety Self-Assessment tool. Starting with a roll out involving a limited number of pharmacies, we will work collaboratively on refining this important patient-safety tool before it is rolled out across the province later this year.
And you will read about our ongoing work to prepare for expanded scope of practice of Ontario pharmacists, the progress we’re making in our Quality Indicators for Pharmacy initiative and Opioid Strategy, and a number of other articles developed to provide you with practical and insightful information you can consider in your everyday practice.
But one of the new features you’ll see in this issue of Pharmacy Connection is something we have named, Registrar’s Reflection. As you’ll discover, the column will focus on a particular topic of interest to the regulator and the profession and provide me the additional opportunity to express my insights, views and ideas to all of you. In this inaugural edition of my column, I highlight the work that we’re doing in response to the growing feedback we’re receiving from registrants related to concerns about the community practice environment. We’re listening to this feedback, so please take a moment to read this important message.
I’d like to close my letter by acknowledging the incredible contribution of the former Director of Conduct and Deputy Registrar Anne Resnick, who retired in January. Anne spearheaded several key initiatives at the College, including our AIMS Program and was an important team member who helped to bring forward, lead or champion a number of other important priorities in support of our mandate over the years. She was a valuable member of our team who provided thoughtful and steady leadership over the past 15 years, in addition to the many years prior in which she served on Council and Committees. She will be missed, and we wish her all our best in her retirement.
As we look towards the future, I’m pleased to introduce Angela Bates as our new Director of Conduct. With her many years of experience in professional regulation and health care, we are fortunate to have Angela aboard as we move forward with the important work before us.
CEO and Registrar
Ontario College of Pharmacists