Three state pharmacy boards are adopting an on-line pharmacist licensure renewal program developed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
Pharmacists in Arizona and Kentucky can forget about filling out those annoying paper-based licensure renewal forms when their pharmacy boards throw the switch on an Internet-based application developed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
The on-line licensure Renewal and Application Process (RAP) will provide 24-hour access. So a pharmacist who's sleepless in Sedona will be able to hop on the Net at two in the morning and complete the renewal process instead of just tossing and turning. The RAP system will be administered by NABP at no cost to state pharmacy boards, beyond any usual credit card processing fees. Pharmacists and pharmacy owners will pay only the normal licensure renewal fee.
Greater efficiency was the main driver of the Kentucky pharmacy board's decision to venture into on-line licensure renewal, said executive director Michael Moné. Since it's still using Windows 95, the board has to upgrade its operating system to be able to interface with NABP.
"When you renew licenses by paper, you have to open 5,000 envelopes," said Moné. "If you get the information electronically, it's much easier to process. On-line renewal will reduce board staff time, reduce the number of potential errors, and provide pharmacists with ready access when it pops into their heads to renew. It reduces work on our part and aggravation on the pharmacist's part. Everyone I've talked to thinks it's a great idea, truly a win-win situation."
The coming February renewal period is Moné's target to have RAP on-line. He anticipates gradually migrating pharmacists from paper to pixels. And he hopes to complete the transition in three to four years, when all licensure renewals would have to be done on-line. "Every library in the commonwealth has Internet access, so that's no barrier," he added.
For its part, there were two drivers behind NABP's decision to opt for on-line licensure renewal, according to executive director Carmen Catizone. In the first place, NABP sees the free RAP service as a way to assist its members who are "getting killed" in the wholesale budget slashing triggered by falling state tax revenues.
"In addition, NABP needed to make sure we had an ongoing way to collect data for our database system," Catizone said. "Licensure seemed the best way. Before, we had to go to the states and ask for their lists of pharmacists. That wasn't providing us with the timely data we needed, and we didn't have all the states in there. The data will help us with our clearinghouse programs, such as when the boards check for disciplinary actions. However, we will not sell that data."
Carol Ukens. State boards stop licensure paper chase via on-line renewal form. Drug Topics Sep. 1, 2003;147:45.