Anna Romano is a community pharmacist who has earned both Certified Respiratory Educator (CRE) and Certified Tobacco Educator (CTE) certification. She is also the director of respiratory education for Pear Healthcare Solutions Inc.
By Tom Smiley BScPhm, PharmD, CTE
When asked why she chose to challenge both the CRE and CTE exams Anna responded, “With reimbursement for pharmacist services growing so quickly, it just makes sense to take advantage of the opportunities presented.”
She also pointed to the growing interest by some third party payers in reimbursing pharmacists for respiratory education activities. “I believe that third party payers finally understand that paying for patient services provided by certificate-trained pharmacists is an investment in their third party plan expenditures, as opposed to an expense. Keeping patients as healthy as possible through appropriate management and motivation to adhere to therapy improves patient quality of life and saves dollars in the long run.”
Similarly, CTE certification offers pharmacists a number of new opportunities. “Tobacco use is still a huge issue in our society,” Anna explains. “The tobacco education program really taught me how to tailor therapy to the patient, because no two tobacco users are alike. Application of the tools available and of motivational interviewing (MI) principles and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), demonstrated through case studies, gave me the confidence to apply these principles to the live demonstration objective assessment component of the program, and then to my practice.
“I realize that not every province is currently reimbursing pharmacists for smoking cessation services, but it is only a matter of time before all will be on board,” she added. “I would advise all pharmacists to prepare themselves through certification, as third parties and government are likely to require extra training as part of the criteria for reimbursement.”
Anna conceded that taking the time to complete certification programs and challenge the exams is not easy for a busy pharmacist. However, she noted that Pear Healthcare Solutions, through its www.healthelearning.ca education site, offers both the CRE and CTE programs online.
These programs are presented in “bite-size” segments so that busy health professionals can complete them at their own pace. Objectives or competencies that require demonstration are completed virtually with an educator assessor via Skype. Another option is to record the demonstration on video and submit it to the Pear Healthcare assessors for personal feedback. Completing the program online versus attending live programs saves time, as well as the expense of travel and accommodation.
“There’s a high level of satisfaction with the personal feedback we receive from the assessors,” said Anna when asked about the response of participants to the online form of education. Areas of concern are addressed in a professional manner, and participants are left feeling prepared to challenge the CRE or CTE exam.
Visit www.healthelearning.ca to find out more information on the Canadian Network for Respiratory Care-approved programs that will qualify you to write the CRE and/or CTE exams.