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If you have trouble accessing any of the information in this OPA Bulletin, or if you have questions about any of the information contained in the bulletin, please email the OPA communications department.

Who Will be the 2017 OPA Patient Impact Award Recipient?

The Ontario Pharmacists Association's Patient Impact Award is presented to a pharmacist who has made lasting impact on patient outcomes. 

Key considerations include: nominated by a patient(s), or non-pharmacist colleague(s), delivers outstanding patient care and customer service, has made lasting impact on patient outcomes, and has made a significant impact on community health and wellness. 

Don’t miss your chance to recognize a pharmacist for this award, or any of the other OPA Awards available this year - visit the OPA website for full award descriptions, criteria, and to download the nomination forms.

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Activating Your RxFiles.ca Subscription for 2017

As a 2017 OPA member, you qualify for complimentary access to RxFiles.ca from January 1 – December 31, 2017. Instructions for accessing this benefit can be found here (you must be logged in to access the page).

Please note that due to a higher than usual number of account activations at this time of year, it can take up to five business days from your membership renewal date before you are able to activate your subscription with RxFiles.

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Summary of OPA Meeting with the Ontario Medical Association

Staff from the Ontario Pharmacists Association met with senior representatives from the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) this week to discuss various areas in which pharmacists and physicians are increasingly working together to provide care to their mutual patients.  Topics included the refreshed MedsCheck program, travel vaccinations available from community pharmacists, and the frequency of dispensing policy for chronic medications. Due to competing priorities facing the OMA over the past several months, OMA messaging around these aspects of pharmacy practice were missed by the physician community. As a result of our meeting, the OMA has committed to recommunicate with their physician members to help address and improve physicians understanding of the new services you are providing to your mutual patients.

The OMA also provided some suggestions for pharmacies, based on physician feedback, to help their members better navigate the MedsCheck program, with the ultimate goal of helping patients and physicians get the most out of the program.  These suggestions include:

  • If there are recommendations for the physician to respond to, as a part of the MedsCheck documentation, pharmacists should highlight them (for example, using bolded and/or large text) on the Healthcare Notification Form which will help draw the physician’s attention to them.
  • Physicians have asked that pharmacy staff NOT fax more pages than are required – the Healthcare Notification Fax Cover Page and the Personal Medication Record in almost all cases are sufficient.  Additional information, such as the Pharmacist Worksheet, should only be provided upon request by a physician.
  • Pharmacists should anticipate that physician responses may take a few days, as when the faxes are received at the office, the physician may be seeing patients and may not able to review transmission right away.  Additionally, the physician may require further information to make a clinical decision that requires follow-up with the patient, thus further delaying any response.

As the scope of pharmacy practice continues to expand, OPA will continue to maintain regular dialogue with the OMA and other healthcare provider groups to ensure our professions are able to work collaboratively and in the best interest of our patients.  We encourage OPA members to continue to provide us with feedback and suggestions so that we are able to represent your voice and work on your behalf.

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Are Your Pain Patients at Risk?
 
Beginning February 1, 2017, higher strengths of long-acting opioids (including Morphine 200 mg tablets, Hydromorphone 24 mg and 30 mg capsules, and Fentanyl 75 mcg/hr and 100 mcg/hr patches) will be delisted from the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Formulary (see OPDP Notice No. 17012 for more information). Lower-strength formulations will continue to be covered.
 
Patients affected by this change will be looking to pharmacists to support them in the ongoing management of their chronic pain. Pharmacists are reminded that it is not an acceptable work-around to dispense lower-strength doses which add up to the originally prescribed dose. For example, a prescription that reads fentanyl 75 mcg patch, apply 1 patch every 72 hours, mitte 5 patches, cannot be dispensed as one 50 mcg patch and one 25 mcg patch. The Ontario Pharmacists Association would also like to remind members that while contacting a prescriber to change a drug to an eligible benefit can not be claimed through the Pharmaceutical Opinion Program, a recommendation to lower a prescription dose would be considered eligible. As such, OPA is encouraging members to assess whether continued use of high-dose opioids is still necessary, and where applicable work with patients and their prescribers to adjust dosing instead of simply requesting a prescription to be re-written for continued coverage.
 
By taking this extra step, you will be turning a conversation with both your patient and their prescriber about formulary coverage into one centred around patient care. As an added bonus, your recommendations may be eligible for a pharmaceutical opinion claim.  

Members are encouraged to email OPA with any questions about these changes.

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Participate in OPA's Take-home Naloxone Survey

The Ontario Pharmacists Association is looking to members in order to gather insight onto pharmacists’ experience with take-home naloxone, as well as the perceptions that pharmacy professionals across the province have of this program. We invite you to participate in an OPA survey on take-home naloxone.

Complete the survey now.

The survey will remain open until 4:30 p.m. on Friday, February 3, 2017. Depending on your responses, the survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. Results will be reported in aggregate; individual responses will be kept strictly confidential. 
 
For additional information about this survey, please contact Hardeep Gill by email or at 416-441-0788 x 4460.

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Registration Now Open for Three of OPA's Live Programs

The Ontario Pharmacists has just opened registration for three of its popular live programs: 

Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) Preparation Course

This program is comprised of online modules and a two-day live program. It is designed to support pharmacists interested in writing the 2017 Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) examination. 

Certified Geriatric Pharmacist (CGP) Preparation Course – Medication Therapy Management for Older Adults  

This comprehensive program consists of online modules and a two-day live program. It covers various disease states and essential skills for geriatric pharmacy practice based on the Certified Geriatric Pharmacist (CGP) exam content outline. The program is designed to help participants to not only prepare for the CGP examination, but also to increase their expertise in delivering pharmacy care to the older adult population.

Confronting Medication Incidents – A Fresh Approach 

The Confronting Medication Incidents – A Fresh Approach program is a half-day workshop for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who wish to develop a better understanding of the frequency, causes, and handling of medication incidents in practice. Speaker: Ian Stewart, BScPharm

Register today to save your spot!

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