New Guidelines Stress Pharmacist Well-Being

August 6, 2019

50 new recommendations signed by organizations, schools, and regulators. 

Pharmacy organizations, schools of pharmacy, regulators, and numerous individuals have agreed to a set of 50 recommendations to address critical issues related to pharmacist well-being. 

The recommendations are designed to provide “immediate, viable, and sustainable solutions at the societal level, the organizational level, and the individual level,” according to a statement from APhA. 

In addition to APhA, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA), developed the recommendations at the Enhancing Well-Being and Resilience Among the Pharmacist Workforce: A National Consensus Conference, held in Chicago, IL, in mid-July.

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“Almost all national pharmacy organizations have policy statements, white papers, research reports, and even standards that address issues associated with work environments, patient safety, burnout, and well-being. Although words on paper can be a solid starting point, this consensus conference focused on real, actionable solutions that define what must be done about these incredibly complex issues,” says APhA President Bradley P. Tice, PharmD.

“No single organization, stakeholder group, or individual can address pharmacist workforce well-being and resilience alone. It will take every single one of us committing to work together and engaging in the process,” Tice says.

Within the recommendations, multiple stakeholders are charged to support meaningful and actionable change to improve: 

  • Pharmacist work conditions and patient safety

  • Payment models

  • Relations between pharmacists and employers

  • Pharmacist and student pharmacist well-being

  • Well-being education and training

  • Communications

  • Data, information, and research on pharmacist well-being

 

Recommendations related to the improvement of pharmacist work conditions and patient safety include:

  • Employers must prioritize patient safety, quality of care, and pharmacist well-being when setting workload expectations and ensure the pharmacy workforce is adequately staffed, trained, and utilized to complete the expected work volume.

  • Employers, payers, accreditors, and regulators should assess the relevance, frequency, and need for required administrative tasks in order to reduce burdens that detract from quality patient care and compromise pharmacists’ well-being.

  • Employers should promote professional autonomy, seek pharmacy team input, and encourage open communication to effectively establish and meet patient care and business objectives (e.g., quotas/metrics/goals) and achieve shared success.

  • Employers should provide pharmacists with mandatory, scheduled, uninterrupted meal breaks away from the pharmacy workflow to promote pharmacist well-being and improve patient safety.

  • Employers and boards of pharmacy should adopt a Just Culture approach to management of medication errors that focuses on system improvement within a learning culture.

  • Employers should support staffing and scheduling models that allow pharmacists flexibility to establish and maintain relationships with their pharmacy team, their patients, and their local communities.

  • State boards of pharmacy should evaluate legislative and regulatory requirements to streamline and remove unnecessary burden on pharmacists and their ability to safely provide patient care.

  • Employers and pharmacist managers should advocate for expanded roles for pharmacy technicians and support technician career advancement to enhance the pharmacist’s ability to provide patient care

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Recommendations related to the improvement of payment models include:

  • The pharmacy profession should actively engage and partner with other health professional organizations, patient advocacy groups, regulators, and pharmacy benefit managers/payers that represent top market share to (1) drive transparency and expose PBM/health plan payment models that create patient safety issues, and (2) eliminate the erosion in reimbursement that compromises sustainability of and investment disincentivizes organizations from investing in pharmacist-provided patient care services.

  • Professional associations should collaborate with other stakeholders to advocate for legislative changes in payment models focused on fair compensation for pharmacist professional services by medical and pharmacy payers independent of medication products, devices, or supplies.