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Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Practice: The Future is Now

May 20, 2014
Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

As I reflect on the historic ASHP-ASHP Foundation Ambulatory Care Summit that took place in Dallas in early March, I am excited by how far ambulatory care pharmacy practice has advanced in our clinics, just in the past decade. Of course, we have had visionary practitioners in this setting dating back to the early 1970’s, but the numbers of pharmacists providing care in our Nation’s clinics has been rapidly increasing. As the rollout of the Affordable Care Act continues, and our healthcare system places an increased focus on chronic disease management and health and wellness, new incentives to emphasize the role of the pharmacist in and across all sites of care will be needed more than ever.

Pharmacists are incredibly well-positioned as members of interprofessional teams to serve patients in the ambulatory setting and through care transitions.  It’s no surprise that the fastest growing member segment of ASHP is ambulatory care pharmacists, especially those who are seeing patients in clinics, physician office practices, accountable care organizations, medical homes, and ambulatory pharmacies in health systems.

It pleases me even more to see all of the great resources that ASHP has to offer in the area of ambulatory care, and the work that the ASHP Section of Ambulatory Care Practitioners is doing to create contemporary tools and resources to support its large and rapidly growing Section membership. I hope that it is apparent to you that ASHP has placed an increased emphasis on ambulatory care so that we now have a very comprehensive and growing set of resources to help ambulatory pharmacists care for their patients and chart a path to the future.

If you have not already done so, I would like to invite pharmacists caring for patients in ambulatory settings to check out all of these resources. A great place to start is the Ambulatory Care Resource Center on the ASHP website. Also consider reviewing the recommendations from the recent Ambulatory Care Summit. If you are thinking about getting certified or are currently certified by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties in ambulatory care, see ASHP’s review and recertification courses and preparation materials.

Our work to pass legislation that will recognize pharmacists as providers under Medicare Part B is another area that ASHP has as a top priority, which will benefit all pharmacists, including those in ambulatory settings—especially the patients they serve. And last, but certainly not least, if you are a pharmacist who practices in an ambulatory setting, then the ASHP Section of Ambulatory Practitioners is your home. The Section provides you with the resources you need to be the best patient care provider you can be and many opportunities to participate, including through the Section executive committee, Section Advisory Groups, and many more.

I hope you share my passion for the future growth of pharmacy in our clinics, pharmacies, and other ambulatory care sites. After having been a pharmacist for over 35 years, I can say with confidence that there is no better time than now to practice pharmacy. The rapid changes in health care that are taking place today, coupled with patients need for comprehensive pharmacy care, further demand that pharmacists are part of every health care team.

Thank you for being a member of ASHP and for your tireless efforts to care for your patients. What you do makes a significant and profound difference!

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