Expanding the roles and responsibilities of pharmacists across Canada should continue to be a top priority to control and contain healthcare costs.
By Ben Gunter (B.Sc.(Pharm), B.Sc., RPh)
As of the end of 2016, pharmacists, interns, and pharmacy students across Ontario meeting specific requirements outlined in regulations were authorized to administer vaccinations for 13 preventable diseases to patients age 5 and older. Once again, progress was being made in further streamlining patient care, saving valuable time and resources and improving collaborative communication between healthcare providers.
My patients have been extremely satisfied with the convenience of having their vaccinations injected at the pharmacy. Not only do we offer the basic service, but we are also able to engage in educational discussions around the importance of these vaccinations, other vaccinations the patient could benefit from, as well as additional discussions in preventive health.
As funding for traditional medication dispensing continues to wane, this expanded regulation not only benefits our patients, but it also introduces an important new revenue stream for pharmacy businesses.
Pharmacists need to continue to advocate for increased responsibilities supported by our governments to be able to offer increased value and service to our patients. As each province continues to expand the roles of the pharmacist, we need to look at the efficiencies found in provinces that have most progressively expanded their professionals’ roles. This will not only help to alleviate the stresses that are currently putting pressure on our healthcare system, but will also provide convenience and improved care to our patients.
Ben Gunter (B.Sc.(Pharm), B.Sc., RPh) is an Associate Owner at Shoppers Drug Mart in Ottawa, Ontario. He also serves on the executive of the Ottawa Carleton Pharmacists Association.