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 first 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 1 – Providing Care
Pharmacy professionals partner with the patient to provide safe and appropriate care that meets the patient’s unique needs, goals and preferences.
Domain 1 includes four standards:
- 1.1: Pharmacy professionals continuously assess the patient’s unique needs, goals and preferences related to health and well-being.
- 1.2: In collaboration with the patient and their circle of care, pharmacy professionals use their professional judgment to make evidence-informed decisions that are based on the patient’s unique needs, goals and preferences.
- 1.3: Pharmacy professionals provide care and services that promote optimal outcomes that meet the patient’s unique needs, goals and preferences.
- 1.4: Pharmacy professionals monitor patients and follow up with them to ensure that therapy continues to be optimal.
Domain 1 speaks to providing holistic care and partnering with patients to help them achieve their own unique needs, goals and preferences. This is a foundational domain for pharmacy professionals that reflects contemporary practice in all pharmacy environments in Ontario. In particular, Domain 1 standards:
- recognize that patient assessment is not transactional, but something that occurs and evolves based on a patient’s health status and unique circumstances throughout their lifetime interaction with the pharmacy;
- acknowledge that patient care does not happen in isolation, and that pharmacy professionals must collaborate with their patients and other healthcare providers, as appropriate, to ensure optimal outcomes; and
- recognize that monitoring plans and follow-up are critical components of providing patient care, and that a robust process must be developed to support pharmacy professionals in meeting this standard.
While Domain 1 is within the scope of practice for pharmacists, some aspects 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
There are many practical examples that reflect Domain 1 in action, including compounding medications that meet supplemental standards of practice, monitoring for adverse drug reactions and reporting them to the Canadian Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring Program, supporting patient transitions in care by communicating and collaborating within the circle of care, and following up with patients to monitor their therapy and ensure optimal outcomes.
Another important example from Domain 1 involves respecting a patient’s health goals, taking into consideration their own knowledge of their condition, any relevant cultural, social or religious factors, and their preferred course of treatment. This has also been an emerging area of focus of the College’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) work and its curation of educational resources to support pharmacy professionals in providing equitable care for all patients. In practice, this could involve using gender-neutral pronouns at every initial patient encounter, being mindful of refill timing for patients with mobility challenges, or being respectful of a patient’s religious or cultural needs which may require same-gender providers or private consultations.
In all of these examples where pharmacy professionals partner with patients, the result is safe and appropriate care that meets the patient’s unique needs, goals and preferences.
This article provides a high-level overview of Domain 1 of the new model 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.