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Community Pharmacies Pilot New Pharmacy Practice Model

Key Partners Support Community Pharmacists in New Practice Model Initiative.
To address calls to improve the coordination of chronic care and forge expanded roles for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in healthcare delivery, new models of pharmacy practice are being evaluated across community pharmacy locations in Iowa. Since 2010, the Iowa Pharmacy Association (IPA) and its New Practice Model (NPM) Task Force has been working to create a pharmacy practice model that fully utilizes the knowledge and expertise of pharmacists to improve patients' health outcomes and provide a safer, more efficient and cost-effective medication use system.

Under the guidance of the NPM Task Force and coordination with the Iowa Board of Pharmacy, a pilot and research demonstration project was designed to ensure safe and effective medication dispensing through a pharmacy technician verification process (i.e., Tech-Check-Tech) in controlled situations in community practice as a means to provide pharmacists the time and resources for clinical pharmacy services. Tech-Check-Tech programs have been effectively implemented across hospitals in Iowa and across the country, but not within a community pharmacy setting. Given the importance of medication therapy to manage chronic conditions, community pharmacists are well-positioned to deliver services, such as medication therapy management (MTM), while addressing medication non-adherence and other medication-related issues.

IPA and the NPM Task Force envision a model of pharmacy practice that enhances patient safety and improves patient health outcomes. It is important for this new practice model be recognized by patients, other healthcare providers, and payers of healthcare as a valuable service model; reproducible; professionally rewarding; and financially sustainable. All participating pharmacies plan to utilize the full breadth of patient care service offerings including: medication therapy management (MTM), immunizations, medication synchronization, disease state management, collaborative practice agreements, and care coordination services with local health-systems. “IPA members have always demonstrated a desire to integrate with other providers in the healthcare system to a larger extent, while fully utilizing their education and training to provide patients with the highest quality of care. This project is designed to achieve those goals and increase collaboration between patients, physicians, and their local pharmacist.” states Kate Gainer, executive vice president and CEO of IPA.

With support by the Community Pharmacy Foundation and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), and in partnership with Drake University Colleges of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and the Collaborative Education Institute, IPA has provided pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working at seven community pharmacies the opportunity to further their professional development and patient care services through involvement in the NPM pilot project. With regular communication and high-level training to professional pharmacy staff members, IPA has helped to inform and engage these pharmacy professionals into their emerging role within the healthcare system.
The seven-site pilot project begins today with plans to expand into other community practice settings in November 2014. The expansion of this project will seek to highlight the ability to reproduce the model across national and regional chain pharmacies, grocery/mass merchant pharmacies, and additional independent and franchise-based community pharmacies. Findings will be distributed via reports to all stakeholder groups, presentations at national meetings and conferences, and various scholarly publications.

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