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Springtime brings renewal
Michelle Powell 970

Springtime brings renewal

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Association Perspective

Ilisa BG Bernstein, PharmD, JD, FAPhA

Springtime, blue skies, and this year’s Annual Meeting & Exposition are here, and with them the promise of new growth, expansion, and an invitation to open one’s arms to welcome change. Excitement, opportunities, and inspiration are all abuzz here in Phoenix as we gather at APhA2023 to celebrate accomplishments, address challenges, and connect with new and known colleagues.

Our theme, “Rise! Advancing in the Face of Adversity,” is evident in the entrepreneurial and pioneering practices we see in our profession. This innovation in pharmacy, humming and reaching far and wide, drives the top use of our knowledge and skills.

image of Ilisa BG Bernstein

There is a digital transformation gaining momentum in health care, and technology continues to be employed in new ways across the health care system.

Telehealth services exploded during the pandemic, supported by wide-ranging technology systems, and are expected to be prominent moving forward. Digital therapeutics are poised to impact the treatment of conditions in new ways, and pharmacists are increasing their involvement with digital monitoring devices and corresponding assessment services. Importantly, there are renewed efforts to rebuild the information superhighway for the seamless exchange of clinical data needed to effectively care for patients.

As we are seeing effective use of automation and artificial intelligence in a way that frees up the pharmacist, allowing them to focus on clinical services, there remain hurdles as well as tremendous room for growth in all practice settings.

Pharmacists and pharmacy teams need to be included in these trailblazing endeavors. We’re reimagining pharmacy practice models and pharmacy team member roles with inclusion in mind.

To be part of the play on the field and help patients to the best of our abilities, pharmacists need access.

Most recently, APhA sent a letter to HHS and The White House to clarify whether federal PREP Act coverage for pharmacists and pharmacy team members to test, treat, and immunize adults and children ages 3–18 years old will continue past May 11, 2023.

APhA emphasized that ending federal PREP Act coverage compromises the federal government’s commitment to the public health response and promoting health equity. While many states have updated their laws to authorize members of the pharmacy team to perform the services authorized under the PREP Act, this is a work in progress.

These promising and great strides before us can only happen with a strong pharmacy workforce and an updated pharmacy payment and reimbursement model.

There is room for improvement stabilizing and maintaining pharmacist and pharmacy technician well-being and resilience to effectively care for patients. This is complex, and APhA is committed to doing the additional work required to meaningfully support pharmacists and their teams.

As the leading voice and advocate for the profession, APhA’s primary focus in 2023 is driving the change needed to make a difference for pharmacy team members and pharmacy as the central role in patient care.

Gathering together to share our stories, strategies, and support, we “Rise!” to advance our profession! ■

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