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Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Ontario Pharmacists’ Association comments on Council's 'Decisions, Decisions'

This letter is from Mr. Dennis Darby, CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association in response to Decisions, Decisions: Family Doctors as Gatekeepers to Prescription Drugs and Diagnostic Imaging in Canada . We invite you to comment here in the blogspace. 

Family physicians need greater access to decision-support tools such as electronic medical records, a drug information system and electronic prescribing. Pharmacists need these tools too, but in the meantime, there is much they can do to help.

It’s a daunting task for any doctor to stay on top of the latest research about prescription drugs. Expert advice on medication is just one way pharmacists, and the drug information and research centre at the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association, can help. 

As the experts in medication and its management, pharmacists are key players on the health-care team, working closely with physicians and other health-care providers to ensure drugs are prescribed and used effectively. Through Bill 179, the Ontario government has acknowledged the tremendous value of pharmacists as medication experts by expanding their scope of practice. This new legislation is in keeping with the national trend toward more collaborative and interdisciplinary care.

Once this collaborative model takes greater hold, we will see profound changes in how medications are prescribed, used and monitored, by a more efficient and effective healthcare team that capitalizes on the expertise of its various professionals. 

Electronic health records, a drug information system and electronic prescribing will facilitate much of this work, and we must all push hard to make it happen.

--Mr. Darby’s comments in this blog are reproduced with permission from the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association. His letter previously appeared in several newspapers.

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