The Pharmacist Is In! Celebrating the Services, Expanded Role, and Dedication of Ontario Pharmacists During Pharmacist Awareness Month

TORONTO, March 12, 2014 /CNW/ - March is Pharmacist Awareness Month, making it the perfect time to recognize the expanding role of Ontario pharmacists and celebrate the pharmacist's role as a valuable healthcare provider. This year's theme, The Pharmacist Is In, is about raising awareness around the full range of services pharmacists are qualified to provide. In Ontario, pharmacists can provide services ranging from medication management to flu vaccinations.

"Ontario pharmacists can help Ontarians more than the public realizes," said Carlo Berardi, Chair of the Board at the Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA). "Pharmacists are on the frontlines of health care and offer a variety of convenient and accessible services for their patients ‒ up to 24 hours a day with no appointment. During Pharmacist Awareness Month, we celebrate the pharmacist's integral role in a patient's healthcare journey."

To help raise awareness about some of the many ways pharmacists can help, OPA has launched a series of short videos on its YouTube channel. The channel also features video interviews with Ontarians about their understanding and use of pharmacy services. To view the videos, visit the OPA YouTube channel.

Finding More Value in Pharmacists' Evolving Role

The evolving role of the pharmacist brings many benefits, including improved disease and drug therapy management, patient satisfaction, and improved quality of life. However, according to a 2013 Ipsos Reid survey conducted on behalf of OPA, only 53 per cent of Ontarians are aware that pharmacists do more than dispense medication.

During Pharmacist Awareness Month, people can learn about the Top Five Reasons to See a Pharmacist. Services Ontarians may not know their pharmacist can provide include:

  • A MedsCheck medication review, at no charge, for patients who are on three or more chronic medications, or those who have diabetes, or who are residents of a long-term care home, or who are homebound and unable to get in to their pharmacy for a consultation.
  • Flu shots and consulting on and demonstrating the administration of other injectables such as insulin and vitamin B12 injections.
  • Smoking cessation counselling and prescribing medications to support patients who want to quit smoking.
  • Adapting and renewing prescriptions (when appropriate) to help ensure patients stay on track with their medications and get the most benefit possible from their prescriptions.
  • Helping patients meet their health and wellness goals by providing support, information, and education about chronic conditions (like high blood pressure or diabetes) and common ailments.

Together, patients, caregivers, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers can work towards the best possible health outcomes. Ontarians are encouraged to get to know their pharmacist during Pharmacist Awareness Month, and learn more about what their pharmacist can do for them.

Pharmacists, whether in a community pharmacy, family health team, long-term care or hospital setting are important members of the healthcare team. They are the most accessible of all healthcare providers and can provide their services and consultations without the need of an appointment.

"Using pharmacists to their full potential increases health system efficiency and reduces healthcare costs," said Berardi. "Raising awareness about all of the services pharmacists provide will not only result in better health for Ontarians, but also better sustainability for our healthcare system."

About Ontario Pharmacists Association

The Ontario Pharmacists Association is committed to evolving the pharmacy profession, and advocating for excellence in practice and optimum health care for all Ontario patients. As the largest advocacy organization, and continuing education and drug information provider for pharmacy professionals in Canada, the association represents more than 14,500 pharmacists, pharmacy students, and pharmacy technicians across Ontario. By leveraging the unique expertise of pharmacy professionals, by enabling them to practice to their fullest potential, and by making them more accessible to all Ontarians, OPA and its more than 8,200 members are working to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the province's healthcare system.

SOURCE Ontario Pharmacists Association

For further information:

Lindsay George
Manager, Communications and Membership
Ontario Pharmacists Association
416-441-0788 x 4236
lgeorge@opatoday.com

Lisa Cancian
GCI Group (Canada)
416-486-5906
lisa.cancian@gcicanada.com