Kal Chauhan, BScPhm, CRE, is excited about the respiratory care opportunities for pharmacists in today’s healthcare environment.
By Tom Smiley, BScPhm, PharmD
Photo by Aniket Sananse
“Physicians and patients are confused about the new molecules and devices that have recently been introduced to respiratory care. There is a tremendous opportunity to collaborate and provide education in this area,” he says. To this end, Kal has developed a relationship with two respirologists and will be co-facilitating respiratory education for pharmacists via a live workshop in the near future.
Kal’s keen interest in respiratory care began even before he graduated from the University of Toronto in 1998. While attending a Pharmacy U conference in Toronto, Kal became aware of the opportunity to engage in an online certified respiratory program on the Health eLearning website (www.healthelearning.ca) and quickly decided to enrol. “I could complete the education at my own pace and according to my schedule. The topics were well laid out, and they were relevant to the knowledge required to pass the Canadian Network for Respiratory Care (CNRC) certification exam.”
When asked why he chose respiratory care as a focus, Kal points to the care gap that currently exists in this area, especially within the senior population. “I have always been very active in smoking cessation activities, and I observe the consequences of long-term tobacco use in my patients every day.”
He also sees many opportunities for pharmacists to demonstrate their value in caring for patients with respiratory conditions. He has a special interest in COPD, since seniors constitute a large proportion of his clientele. “Many former tobacco users assume that their breathing issues are a result of growing older, when in reality many have COPD. It is very important to correctly identify these individuals so they can receive appropriate treatment.”
Helping patients with respiratory issues is very important to Kal. He utilizes his patient database to screen for those who are overdue to renew their regular use COPD treatment inhalers (e.g., anticholinergics), and he invites them in for a medication review. This allows Kal to assess patients and make recommendations for improvements to their medication regimen or utilization. Since he resides in Ontario, Kal is able to bill for a Pharmaceutical Opinion in these circumstances. Patients with COPD who suffer exacerbation are educated on the importance of adhering to prescribed medications as an important preventive measure. While interacting with patients, Kal also ensures that their vaccinations (e.g., Prevnar®) are up to date.
The pharmacist is greatly interested in the recently introduced Certified Tobacco Educator (CTE) designation. Although he has undertaken smoking cessation programs in the past, he looks forward to preparing for the CNRC-facilitated CTE exam in the future, aided by the preparation program available at www.healthelearning.ca.
“Motivating people to quit smoking is such an important role for pharmacists, and it is directly tied to respiratory care. We have a tremendous opportunity to address the barriers to care and help improve our patients’ quality of life.”