The College is set to begin piloting practice assessments for pharmacists in hospital and other healthcare facilities in the fall of this year, with an official launch anticipated in January 2021. Once launched, OCP will be assessing Part A pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in all practice settings across the province.
Pilot Program Provides an Opportunity to Tailor the Assessment Criteria
The pilot program, which will be conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will allow OCP to make adjustments and fine-tune the assessment tool and process before launching in 2021. This approach was also used before the successful launch of practice assessments for community and hospital pharmacy technicians in January 2019.
A Critical Component of Quality Assurance
Practice assessments support the role of pharmacists as medication therapy experts and clinical decision-makers, and are consistent with assessments of other primary healthcare practitioners. They are a critical component of quality assurance, which is a core part of the College’s mandate.
The assessments also reflect evolving public and patient expectations that OCP regularly engage with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in all practice settings to ensure that safe and appropriate care is being provided.
Coaching and Feedback Approach
During a practice assessment, College practice advisors take a collaborative approach, using coaching and feedback to highlight areas where the pharmacist is doing well and meeting the standards and to identify opportunities for pharmacists to enhance their practice. Assessments are not punitive in nature but are an opportunity for learning and growth.
Routine practice assessments are scheduled every four to six years. The results of an assessment are confidential and are not shared with employers, owners, colleagues or any College committee, other than the Quality Assurance Committee. As with community pharmacist assessments, if a pharmacist does not meet the standards indicated on their first assessment, he or she is given the opportunity to spend time with a quality assurance coach (peer practitioner) before being reassessed by another practice advisor. For more information on the re-assessment process, visit the Practice Assessments webpage.
Areas of Focus
During a practice assessment for pharmacists in hospital and other healthcare facilities, practice advisors will focus on four key areas: patient assessment, decision-making, documentation, and communication and education. For each focus area, specific performance indicators – which describe the minimum practice requirement for all pharmacists – are identified.
More information about the focus areas and performance indicators, and how to prepare for an assessment, will be posted to the College’s website once the pilot program concludes.
Pharmacy Professionals Find the Assessments Valuable in Delivering Higher Quality Care
To-date, practice assessments of pharmacists in community, and pharmacy technicians in community and hospital settings, have been very well received, with professionals reporting that they found the assessments helpful in validating the work they are doing and in recognizing areas for improvement and growth. Pharmacy professionals have responded positively to the coaching approach, sharing that the assessments provided an opportunity for self-reflection and have been instrumental in offering valuable practice insights.
More information about practice assessments for pharmacists in hospital and other healthcare facilities will be posted to the website in the coming months.
PRACTICE ASSESSMENTS FOR PHARMACISTS AND PHARMACY TECHNICIANS IN ALL PRACTICE SETTINGS – TIMELINE
Pharmacist practice assessments in community
Implemented in 2016
Pharmacy technician practice assessments in community
Implemented in January 2019
Pharmacy technician practice assessments in hospital
Implemented in January 2019
Pharmacist practice assessments in hospitals and other settings
Anticipated launch in January 2021
Practice and Pharmacy Operation Assessments Update
Effective August 1, 2020 and until further notice, the College will conduct the majority of operational and practice assessments through comprehensive virtual meeting formats (remote video assessments). College advisors will continue to thoroughly assess pharmacies and registrants against all established relevant standards; in-person assessments will be conducted on a case-by-case basis.
College advisors will communicate directly with pharmacy managers and registrants to arrange for assessment dates and provide further details and instructions. Operational assessments for community pharmacy new openings, sales and relocations will continue to be facilitated remotely until further notice.
Stay up to date on College adjustments to programs by visiting the College's Operations Update webpage.