Community Practice Environment, Winter 2021

Principles of Shared Accountability to Support Safe, High Quality Patient Care

Banner Winter 2021 - Shared Responsibility
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In December 2020, the College’s Board of Directors approved a set of Principles of Shared Accountability, developed in collaboration with the College, patients, the profession, pharmacy stakeholders including owner/operators and associations. These principles provide all pharmacy stakeholders with a foundation to guide decision making that supports consistent delivery of safe, high quality patient care within a community pharmacy environment.

In early 2020, the College launched the Community Practice Environment Initiative, which is aimed at understanding confirmed and potential barriers to professional autonomy and patient safety in community pharmacy through thoughtful, respectful and meaningful collaboration and engagement with pharmacy stakeholders. The first phase of this initiative focused on developing principles of shared accountability amongst pharmacy stakeholders. These principles are intended to guide the development of specific solutions and strategies for the sector to further strengthen the quality and safety of pharmacy care, and help position the profession for ongoing success as pharmacy plays an increasingly important role in the health and wellbeing of Ontarians.

Following engagement with the profession and the public, and through the input of a multi-disciplinary advisory group, seven principles have now been developed, and approved by the Board. The following set of principles of shared accountability were developed to enable a community practice environment that supports professionalism and safe, high-quality patient care:


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Principle 1:
The regulator, proprietors, and pharmacy professionals each have a responsibility to facilitate and promote the delivery of safe, patient-centred healthcare in community pharmacy.

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Principle 2:
The regulator, proprietors, and pharmacy professionals have a shared responsibility to educate the public on the role of pharmacy within their health care team, what pharmacy professionals do, and how this is essential for the health and safety of patients.

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Principle 3:
The regulator, proprietors, and pharmacy professionals have a shared responsibility to integrate continuous quality improvement within the practice environment, including the use of evidence-based methods, tools and resources along with sharing best practices, to enable the delivery of safe, high-quality patient-centred care.

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Principle 4:
The regulator, proprietors, and pharmacy professionals have a shared responsibility for a practice culture that supports the physical and mental wellbeing of pharmacy team members.

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Principle 5:
The regulator, proprietors and pharmacy leaders have a shared responsibility to ensure the provision of safe, high-quality care by an appropriate complement of qualified and skilled staff who have the resources and physical environment necessary for managing patient care in accordance with the standards of the profession.

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Principle 6:
While performance metrics are a normal business practice in many industries and are used across the health sector, the regulator, proprietors and pharmacy professionals have a shared responsibility to align performance goals and measures in community pharmacy with the best interests of the individual patient as determined in collaboration with the pharmacy.

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Principle 7:
The regulator, proprietors, pharmacy leaders, and pharmacy and professional associations are committed to ensuring strong pharmacy leadership, and have a shared responsibility to promote leadership development, including skill development for the critical role designated managers have in creating effective pharmacy team dynamics and a positive practice culture.


The College is working with its advisory group on the development of an implementation strategy that will involve each partner playing an important part in the rollout, promotion and adoption of the principles throughout the profession. Please watch for additional details in the coming months through e-Connect about opportunities to learn more about the principles and how they can be applied within community pharmacy practice environments across the province and the role of the College and other organizations in supporting this work including public education.

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