When Might Connecting To A College Practice Consultant Be Beneficial To You?


One of the ways the College fulfills its mandate to serve and protect the public is by developing and enforcing pharmacy standards, policies and guidelines and the Code of Ethics, which outline the professional obligations of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Alongside legislation, these documents create a framework for pharmacy professionals to practice independently, using their knowledge, skills and judgment.

The College provides access to Practice Consultants who support registrants in navigating this framework and, ultimately, providing safe and ethical patient care. The following FAQs outline what to expect when contacting Pharmacy Practice.


CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT A PRACTICE CONSULTANT CAN DO FOR ME?

ANSWER
A Practice Consultant is familiar with the detailed content of the Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice and Practice Policy and Guidelines of the College and will refer you to the most appropriate resource(s) for your inquiry. Practice Consultants are also well-versed in, and can guide you to, the relevant Practice Tools, other resources, and overall content of the OCP website. Practice Tools bring together information about specific practice topics into one central location. Topics are listed in alphabetical order and offer quick access to relevant policies, guidelines, fact sheets, articles and FAQs.

While Practice Consultants are conversant in pharmacy-related legislation, it is important to be aware that they cannot interpret legislation or provide legal advice. They may assist in identifying and evaluating the options and risks involved in taking various courses of action with the intention to support an individual’s decision-making process.

Practice Consultants cannot provide opinions, operational advice, or clinical information. It is also important to recognize and respect that each registrant is a self-regulated professional, responsible for his/her own decisions and actions. Practice Consultants cannot direct a pharmacy professional on what to do, intervene in a situation, or evaluate or approve a proposed business concept. When applicable, they may refer you to external resources for guidance on issues that are not within the College’s mandate.


WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO REACH A PRACTICE CONSULTANT?

ANSWER
You can email pharmacypractice@ocpinfo.com at any time or call the College at 416-962-4861 ext. 2210 during regular business hours.

Phone calls and emails are answered in the order in which they are received; one method does not take priority over another. However, communicating by email makes it easier to receive a reply at your convenience and also facilitates sending links to recommended resources. Practice Consultants strive for a high level of service with the goal of providing timely responses to all inquiries. Please allow up to three (3) business days for a reply before following up. Multiple points of contact are discouraged as this creates inefficiencies and prolongs response times to inquiries.


WHAT IF I HAVE AN URGENT QUESTION AND NEED TO SPEAK TO A PRACTICE CONSULTANT IMMEDIATELY?

ANSWER
All College standards, policies, guidelines, fact sheet and frequently asked questions are publicly available on the College website to assist you when an immediate response is required. It is important to familiarize yourself with the content of the website before an urgent or difficult practice issues arises so you will know where to find the information you require quickly.

In addition, pharmacy professionals are encouraged to develop a network of peers to consult with for urgent difficult practice issues that arise and/or create uncertainty. The College’s Practice Consultants are available to help you navigate the various College documents and links to relevant external resources; however, the pharmacy practice department is not intended to operate as an emergency resource.


DO PRACTICE CONSULTANTS HAVE ACCESS TO COLLEGE INFORMATION THAT THE PUBLIC DOES NOT?

ANSWER
No. In keeping with the College’s core value of transparency, all resources available to the Practice Consultants are publicly available on the OCP website. To access information related to your question in the timeliest manner, please visit ocpinfo.com before contacting a Practice Consultant.

Pharmacy professionals should be familiar with the Practice Tools and Regulations & Standards sections of the website. The search function can also be used to locate OCP resources and documents. It is also expected that registrants keep up-to-date on official College communications including e-Connect and Pharmacy Connection.


DO PRACTICE CONSULTANTS RESPOND TO INQUIRIES FROM THE PUBLIC?

ANSWER
Yes. Patients often contact the College with questions about a recent experience at a pharmacy, looking for guidance on what is acceptable practice – from both a professional obligation and a legislative perspective. In addition to guiding patients to the same resources as they would a registrant, Practice Consultants also encourage patients to speak with the pharmacy professional or pharmacy manager directly.

Members of the public are also referred to the information on the OCP website specifically intended for them, such as:


IS THE INFORMATION I GIVE TO OR RECEIVE FROM A PRACTICE CONSULTANT KEPT CONFIDENTIAL?

ANSWER
Information provided remains confidential and will not be shared or used by other programs or departments within the College unless it is required by law, or where it is necessary in the interest of public safety. The intent is to encourage open discussion by providing appropriate privacy, while still enabling the College to fulfill its mandate of regulating the profession to protect the public.

Importantly, the response provided by a Practice Consultant is specific to the inquiry and not intended for circulation or advice in any other circumstances. The guidance or resources provided may not be exhaustive and registrants who remain unsure about their particular circumstance should exercise due diligence and obtain independent legal advice to address their outstanding concerns.


TOP FIVE INQUIRIES (THEMES) RECEIVED
 BY THE PHARMACY PRACTICE TEAM IN 2018:

INQUIRIES FROM REGISTRANTS:

  1. Dispensing of controlled substances (methadone or buprenorphine/naloxone)
  2. Pharmacist scope of practice (particularly injections)
  3. Compounding (NAPRA Standards)
  4. Prescription authenticity – prescriber authorization/transmission
  5. Recordkeeping and retention of documentation

INQUIRES FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC:

  1. Professional/dispensing fees and practices
  2. Concerns about a specific prescription or situation
  3. Seeking verification of information or of a practice
  4. Requesting personal health information
  5. Pharmacy personnel scope of practice

Look for more information in the 2018 annual report to be published in April.