In the new year, work together

Today's Perspective

Nine years ago, the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners (JCPP) adopted a statement describing its Vision of Pharmacy Practice 2015: “Pharmacists will be the health professional responsible for providing patient care that ensures optimal medication therapy outcomes.” With just a year now remaining and with JCPP working on a revision (see the CEO editorial on page 14), what can we say about how well pharmacy has done with the 2015 vision? 

This is not just a hypothetical question as the provider status initiative gets under way (see page 55). A key term in the 2015 vision statement—“patient care”—is central to what pharmacy is asking for on Capitol Hill, in statehouses across the country, and from the private and public sectors.

We are one profession working from a common educational background. However, the primary tasks and services performed can be very different in various practice settings. We have a common goal of improving medication use, advancing patient care, and achieving quality outcomes through the inclusion of pharmacists’ services. Pharmacy has an evolving process for providing patient care, we have principles and precepts derived from clinical pharmacy and pharmaceutical care, and we can provide examples of pharmacists providing patient care. But where does patient care end and another aspect of the practice of pharmacy start? And do the disparate parts of the profession agree on these delineations? More work is needed to build consensus across the profession.

As we enter 2014, the profession has made much progress in establishing the pharmacist as the member of the health care team who provides patient care that results in optimal medication therapy outcomes. Organizations in the pharmacy community have built strong relationships and developed much mutual respect during the health care reform debate, and now with provider status. Our health care colleagues are seeing the benefit of pharmacist inclusion on the team.

We now need to leverage these relationships so that we can successfully navigate the political waters ahead. When provider status is achieved, the discussion will turn to the scope of pharmacists’ patient care services. We will all need to have respect and an open mind to achieve a professionwide consensus. 

As we enter the new year, I ask each of you to place on your New Year’s resolution list a commitment to support the profession’s provider status efforts and promote the good work our pharmacy colleagues do everyday in all practice settings.

Have a great new year and enjoy your January Today, the first issue in our 20th year of publication!