Accreditation Standards Drafts Emphasize Health Care Role of Pharmacists

Eileen Oldfield, Associate Editor
Published Online: Tuesday, August 14, 2012
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A number of different organizations have developed draft standards for pharmacy accreditation that emphasize the expanding role of pharmacists.

Several health care organizations have drafted accreditation standards for community pharmacies with the aim of ensuring that they meet certain care requirements. One set of standards has been drawn up by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) in conjunction with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), while another has been drawn up by URAC, a health care accreditation organization.
The APhA and NABP announced a partnership to develop, test, and implement accreditation standards in October 2011. These standards aim to recognize practice quality and are intended to enhance patient safety, according to the APhA. The program’s anticipated rollout is 2013, and the development process includes input and appeals from industry stakeholders. Its draft standards were released June 30, 2012, and an open comment period on them closes August 15, 2012.
According to APhA’s fact sheet on pharmacy accreditation, community pharmacy is the only industry sector without an accreditation standard beyond licensing requirements. The accreditation standards would apply to practice sites rather than pharmacists and would be voluntary. The APhA says that its program is not intended to replace the work of state boards of pharmacy or pharmacy organizations.
Meanwhile, URAC has requested input on its draft of proposed community pharmacy accreditation standards. The open comment period on the draft closes on August 17, 2012. URAC’s draft standards cover pharmacy structure, operations, and medication management within the pharmacy, patient medication management, pharmacy wellness, and disease management. The standards feature an increased focus on patient-centered offerings, including counseling and education, medication management, medication adherence, pharmacist consulting, and wellness and prevention services.
The standards also address collaboration with prescribers, immunizations, health screenings, chronic disease management, and care transitions. In conjunction with its pharmacy accreditation efforts, URAC will offer a webinar on August 22, 2012, that will cover changes in the health care system that affect community pharmacists.
For some pharmacies, however, the potential costs of accreditation may be a concern, particularly if the compensation model does not make up for the money spent on accreditation.

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