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New Practice Model

Suboptimal medication therapy is at a crisis level in our health care system. Involving the patient and utilizing more fully the community pharmacist’s knowledge and skills is important in addressing this growing problem. This is best articulated by the 2011 Report to the US Surgeon General, Improving Patient and Health Outcomes Through Advanced Pharmacy Practice. Significant changes to pharmacy practice have been occurring while efforts have been underway to more accurately describe the capabilities and appropriate role of the pharmacist in a community pharmacy setting. The most significant of these in Iowa is the elevation of support personnel in pharmacies through mandatory technician certification and the advancement to all PharmD programs in the Colleges of Pharmacy. These two advancements have brought about the need and opportunity to seriously look at and redefine the practice of community pharmacy.

In numerous health-systems across the country, pharmacy technicians are delegated more dispensing functions to allow for growth of clinical pharmacy services in institutionalized settings. In 2011, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy approved the use of certified pharmacy technicians in institutionalized settings to conduct the final verification step in the dispensing process in controlled situations to increase the availability of pharmacists to conduct patient care services. This strategy to increase the role of pharmacy technicians in dispensing is commonly referred to as “tech-check-tech” programs. Advanced education and training requirements for pharmacy technicians and ongoing quality assurance is essential in such programs. These programs have seen growth of clinical pharmacy services in institutionalized settings, yet never in a community pharmacy setting. This begs the question, how well would a “tech-check-tech” program work in a community pharmacy setting and what services could community pharmacists conduct with this improved availability to practice patient care.

In response to the established rules by the Iowa Board of Pharmacy for pharmacy pilot or demonstration research projects, the purpose of this initiative is to study the effects of a new community pharmacy practice model designed to allow community pharmacists to deliver patient care services to patients across the state of Iowa. Under the direction of its Board of Trustees, the Iowa Pharmacy Association (IPA) officially created the New Practice Model Task Force (NPMTF) in early 2010. The NPMTF is a continuation of an unofficial working group that had been meeting throughout 2009. It had been charged with the creation and oversight of a pilot program to implement a new workflow and business model for community pharmacy.

The primary partners in this study include the IPA Foundation, Drake University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, NuCara Health Management, Inc., the Community Pharmacy Foundation, and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS).

Specific Aims of this study are to:
  • Implement and assess the impact of a Tech-Check-Tech program in community pharmacies in Iowa on patient safety measures
  • Implement and assess the impact of a Tech-Check-Tech program in community pharmacies in Iowa in facilitating the provision of community pharmacist-provided services.

Additional Information on the New Practice Model:

IPA Press Release (Jun 2, 2014)

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