Another theme was APhA’s role in pharmacy practice accreditation. The premise here is that: “For any new service to scale, it must be ‘specific, predictable, and measureable.’” To this end, APhA has been working through the Center for Pharmacy Practices Accreditation (CPPA). In addition to creating community pharmacy standards, CPPA is launching or beta-testing programs in areas such as specialty pharmacy and telehealth.

Other efforts centering around pharmacist-provided care include the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners (JCPP)’s pharmacists’ patient care process, adopted almost two years ago. This process will be a requirement of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) for Pharm.D. programs beginning next year, and is also being incorporated into national and state pharmacy association continuing education programs.

Pharmacists might look at such efforts and think, “Great, more hurdles and more rules we have to follow.” But the better a pharmacy and its pharmacists can position themselves as certified care providers, as specialists in patient care, and as professionals who can tell patients, payers, and the community that care is part of a carefully thought through process in the pharmacy, the better.

It’s then the technology vendors’ role to make sure they understand how to attune their products to the standardized care process and support the specialized care pharmacists provide.

Pharmacy technology has done a great job allowing pharmacists to step away from the pill counting tray, from the phone, and from a range of other easily automated or delegated tasks. But we’ll need to take care that we focus the new pharmacy environment on pharmacist’s interactions with patients. At it’s best, pharmacy technology vendors will take the pharmacist care process and make it as seamless and streamlined an experience for pharmacist and patient as possible.