January is a busy time for NABP. We’re preparing for the 119th Annual Meeting in May and mapping out the upcoming year’s goals and initiatives. In addition, we’re continuing to provide guidance and support on the issues that protect patient safety and are of high importance to the boards of pharmacy. These are projects that grew out of resolutions from previous Annual Meetings. As you will read below, our efforts didn’t end with a committee or task force meeting.
Preventing Medication Errors
A resolution passed during the 118th NABP Annual Meeting in 2021 called for a task force to explore methods for preventing medication errors that go beyond discipline to find the root causes of mistakes. The Task Force on Safety-Sensitive Measures to Review Medication Errors issued two recommendations to help the boards of pharmacy build a safety-based culture. The outcomes from these recommendations gave rise to:
- A “medication safety academy”
- The first meeting will be held in March. The intent is for participants to share lessons learned – how to implement quality assurance programs and a “just culture approach” – with colleagues in every state.
- Educational workshops and materials
- We held live webinars in March and December 2022 that are now available as home study continuing pharmacy education activities. One compares American and Canadian approaches to quality improvement programs, while the other features tools and resources from the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention that pharmacists can use on the job. We are also collaborating with the Institute on Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) to hold a webinar later this year on targeted medication safety best practices. It will be an “encore presentation” of a webinar ISMP held on January 31.
Building a New Pharmacy Practice Model
Reginald B. “Reggie” Dilliard, DPh, has focused his 2022-2023 NABP Presidential Initiative around creating a new pharmacy practice model based upon changes seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Emergency orders and temporarily loosened regulations enabled pharmacists to use their education and training to deliver more patient care. The catch, though, is the increased responsibilities exacerbated staffing shortages and other workplace issues that had been problematic for years.
Dilliard appointed task forces and work groups to address these challenges. The members of the Work Group on Workplace Safety, Well-Being, and Working Conditions issued five recommendations to support a healthy work environment. One included expanding the role of pharmacy technicians so that pharmacists can be more available to perform duties within their skillset. Another endorsed standardizing lunch breaks and shift lengths; yet another called for utilizing more automation technology.
The Work Group to Consider Extending Waivers evaluated in-depth the rules that the boards of pharmacy relaxed during the pandemic and called for eight of them to remain permanent. Many of them, like those regarding emergency refills, allow pharmacists to apply their extensive education and training to provide patient care services, ultimately benefiting public health.
What’s Next for 2023-2024?
After the 119th Annual Meeting in Nashville, we’ll have even more initiatives on our plate. In truth, our work is never truly done because the ever-evolving nature of pharmacy practice and our continued collaboration with the member boards. We wouldn’t have it any other way as we pursue our mission of public health protection.