Standards of Practice

Exploring NAPRA’s New Standards: Communication and Collaboration

Domain 3 - Collaboration with communication icon
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The College is exploring whether to adopt or adapt new Model Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians in Canada. These new standards were approved by the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) in November 2021 and, if adopted or adapted by the College for Ontario registrants, would replace the existing separate standards for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. This is the third in a series of five articles to help registrants, pharmacy stakeholders and patients understand each domain in the new model standards.

Most of the new Model Standards of Practice are well-aligned with existing practice standards. And in a few instances where changes have been made, they remain consistent with expectations already articulated in the College’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Operation. This means that putting these new model standards into practice should be relatively straightforward for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. For now, Ontario’s current practice standards remain in effect.

Overview of Domain 3 – Communication and Collaboration

Pharmacy professionals demonstrate sensitivity, respect, empathy, and inclusion, and ensure effective communication and collaboration with patients, the pharmacy team, other health professionals, and other stakeholders.

Domain 3 includes five standards:

  • 3.1 Pharmacy professionals communicate effectively.
  • 3.2 Pharmacy professionals work in partnership with patients.
  • 3.3 Pharmacy professionals work in partnership with pharmacy colleagues, other health professionals, and other stakeholders.
  • 3.4 Pharmacy professionals document care, actions, and decisions to enable collaboration and continuity of care.
  • 3.5 Pharmacy professionals maintain appropriate records to enable collaboration and continuity of care.

What’s New

Standard 3.2 speaks to the partnership with patients and highlights the importance of, and recognition of, patients as key stakeholders. Although the engagement of patients as partners in their care is not new for pharmacy professionals, the standard further emphasizes the role patients have in managing and making decisions about their healthcare. Pharmacy professionals are to recognize and support the right of patients to have health beliefs and practices different from their own.

Domain 3 is about effective communication and collaboration with healthcare peers and patients

DOMAIN 3: Hand of partnership

DOMAIN 3: Four puzzle pieces with the text pharmacy professionals, patients, other health professionals and other stakeholders.

Standard 3 (3.4 and 3.5) also speaks to maintaining appropriate and unique patient records that include decisions with rationale. The patient record includes patient characteristics, health history, health status, care plans, monitoring parameters, and products, care and services provided. A holistic patient chart supports continuity of care, collaboration with other healthcare professionals, and ongoing optimization of care. While these standards are not new to pharmacy professionals in Ontario, the new standards reinforce the importance of effective communication and collaboration, and the importance of documentation in the delivery of consistently safe, quality patient-centered care.

Demonstrating sensitivity, respect, empathy, and inclusion in all communication and interactions (Standard 3.1.2) is a key component of effective communication. This standard support the College’s equity, diversity and inclusion work as well as existing obligations under the College’s Code of Ethics.

While all Domain 3 indicators are within the scope of practice for pharmacists, some are specific to the role of pharmacy technicians – please review NAPRA’s Model Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians in Canada for full details.

This Domain in Action

By communicating and collaborating with patients, peers and other stakeholders, pharmacy professionals can support optimized patient care and the transition of care for patients.

When a pharmacy professional is providing a diagnostic or monitoring test, for example, they support and respect the patient’s right to make informed choices and give informed consent by identifying the options and explaining the benefits and risks of each option.

When patients’ records are being transferred to another pharmacy, continuity of care is supported by pharmacy professionals maintaining robust records and documentation that assist informed decision-making for the new healthcare provider.

In these examples, the communication and collaboration standards from Domain 3 had a direct, positive impact on patient health outcomes.

Learn more

This article provides a high-level overview of Domain 3 of the new standards of practice and does not cover all aspects of the standards and indicators included within the domain. For more information, refer to NAPRA’s Model Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians in Canada.

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