Magazine article Drug Topics

Pharmacy Leaders Offer New Practice Paradigm-PCT

Magazine article Drug Topics

Pharmacy Leaders Offer New Practice Paradigm-PCT

Article excerpt

COMMUNITY PRACTICE

Pharmacy has a narrow window of opportunity to look beyond its myopic focus on drugs and take charge of clinical technologies, according to an international group of healthcare leaders who have proposed a new practice paradigm.

Instead of just managing drugs, pharmacists should also be the healthcare professionals in charge of the safe, effective, and economical use of devices, instruments, and diagnostics under the tenets of Pharmaceutical Clinical Technology (PCT). More than 140 international leaders in pharmacy, pharmacy education, law, medicine, and biomedical engineering have signed onto a manifesto. The document is a medical, scientific, educational, professional, and legal analysis of how to implement pharmacy practice acts.

The endorsers of this manifesto believe that some in pharmacy have put all of the profession's eggs in the pharmaceutical care basket, but a potentially fatal flaw is that they never asked the rest of health care whether they needed or wanted R.Ph.s in that role. Outgoing president Peter Kielgast noted at the International Pharmaceutical Federation's recent annual meeting that pharmaceutical care is still not an integral part of any healthcare system. Calling for a "reality check," he added that pharmaceutical care would not work without a covenant with patients and payers.

Pharmaceutical care "could end up as a cruel hoax that might never succeed," said Albert Wertheimer, Ph.D., professor of pharmacy practice, director, Center for Pharmaceutical Health Services Research, Temple University School of Pharmacy. "On the other hand, Pharmaceutical Clinical Technology is a practical, workable framework with a high probability of what the profession needs to stay relevant. I am a true believer that the foundation of PCT can be the salvation for the profession of pharmacy."

PCT is the brainchild not of a pharmacist but of an Arizona-based physician, Ari Heller, M.D., who is codirecfor of the Pharmaceutical Clinical Technology Project. He compares PCT with a pharmacy school with three floors: basic science, clinical science, and social and administrative science. But instead of teaching only drugs, each floor would also incorporate clinical technologies. Such a discipline-based approach would then become the basis of pharmacy practice in all settings.

"Think of it as a two-by-two table," Heller said. …

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