DIRC, OPA and rxBriefCase Team up to Support Canadian Pharmacists with Online CPD Resources

    TORONTO, April 30 /CNW/ - The Ontario Pharmacists' Association (OPA), its
Drug Information and Research Centre (DIRC) and rxBriefCase Inc. are pleased
to announce a new partnership to support Canadian pharmacists.
    DIRC, owned by the OPA, provides knowledge translation services to
improve medication use. DIRC's reputation for unbiased, evidence-based, and
timely work has grown to become North America's largest pharmacist-operated
drug information centre, responding to over 75,000 inquiries per year.
    DIRC is also the premier provider of live continuing education (CE)
programs for pharmacists in Canada. Over the past three years, DIRC has
developed and delivered dozens of live, in-depth, accredited CE programs,
training over 1,200 health professionals. Satisfaction with DIRC's CE events
is exemplary. Over 94% of participants of past programs have indicated that
their learning needs were met, and 92% indicated that they would attend a
similar program on another topic. DIRC is one of only two organizations
authorized to self accredit its own education programs to national pharmacist
continuing education standards. This new partnership with rxBriefCase promises
to extend its educational programs further by increasing their visibility and
accessibility using Web-based tools.
    "We are developing a new level of online Continuing Professional
Development (CPD) offerings, including continuing education certification
programs and practice tools," said Marc Kealey, CEO for OPA. "Our goal is to
provide pharmacists in Ontario and across Canada with programs and education
to support continuing professional development, which they have come to expect
from us."
    rxBriefCase, the leading provider of online education for Canadian
pharmacists will provide DIRC and OPA with the technology and marketing tools
needed to offer this new CPD programming nationally. "We are very excited
about our partnership with the OPA and DIRC," said Cynthia Hastings-James,
President of rxBriefCase. "By the end of 2007 pharmacists across Canada will
be able to tap into a suite of unparalleled professional development tools and
resources all through a central point of access online."
    This new online service will be offered through DIRC on a national level
and will address the needs of pharmacists in their changing role in primary
health care. Initial programming will include existing certificate programs in
chronic disease management such as diabetes and asthma. Other planned
programming includes online access to eSymposia from the OPA annual conference
and additional certificate opportunities.
    OPA, DIRC and rxBriefCase will be undertaking a national needs assessment
in May to further identify the requirements for future programs.
    The pharmacy profession is evolving as government and other health
stakeholders recognize the effectiveness of pharmacist professional services.
As pharmacists are assuming a larger role in the health-care system, this new
partnership will give pharmacists the tools and skills necessary to deliver.

    The Companies:

    The Ontario Pharmacists Association (www.opatoday.com) is a voluntary
organization representing the views and interests of the 10,000 pharmacists
and pharmacists in training in Canada's largest province. OPA members practice
in community pharmacies; hospitals, industry and long term care facilities and
also include educators, researchers and students.

    The Drug Information and Research Centre (www.dirc.ca) is owned by the
OPA but operates independently. DIRC services have grown considerably since it
first began as a part of the Ontario College of Pharmacists and is now the
major resource centre for drug information services in Ontario.

    Key DIRC Mandates
    -   To contribute to improved health and quality of life for the people
        of Ontario through effective drug therapy.
    -   To help reduce health care costs caused by inappropriate prescribing,
        incorrect drug utilization and drug wastage.
    -   To support the key role of pharmacists in the health care system.

    rxBriefCase (www.rxBriefCase.com) provides free accredited online
continuing education (CE) courses for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.
rxBriefCase is the leading provider of online continuing education for
pharmacists in Canada, with over 11,000 community pharmacists actively
participating in CE programs. rxBriefCase's sister company, mdBriefCase is the
leading provider of online physician education, with over 32,000 Canadian
physician members.

For further information:

For further information: Contact Person, Graham Henry, Director &
Special Advisor to the CEO, Company Name, Ontario Pharmacists' Association,
Telephone Number, (416) 441-0788, Fax Number, (416) 441-0791, Email Address,
ghenry@opatoday.com, Web site address, http://www.opatoday.com; Contact
Person, Scott Gavura, Director, Company Name, Drug Information Resource
Centre, Telephone Number, (416) 385-2440, ext. 2222, Fax Number, (416)
385-2442, Email Address, sgavura@dirc.ca, Web site address,
http://www.dirc.ca/; Contact Person, Cynthia Hastings-James, President,
Company Name, rxBriefCase, Telephone Number, (416) 488-5500, ext. 221, Fax
Number, (416) 488-0566, Email Address, c.hastings@rxbriefcase.com, Web site
address, http://www.rxBriefCase.com

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