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October 29, 2020

Virginia Mason Kirkland Medical Center Wins ASHP Board of Directors’ Award of Excellence

AN EFFICIENT PRACTICE WORKFLOW, allowing pharmacists and other clinicians to perform at the top of their licensure, and a culture of respect are three of the principles rooted at Virginia Mason Kirkland Medical Center in Washington. These factors have contributed to high job satisfaction among clinicians and helped the medical center become one of two recipients of the 2020 ASHP Board of Directors’ Award of Excellence.

Promoting Well-being

Richard Furlong, M.D

“The Virginia Mason Kirkland Medical Center implemented initiatives to support well-being and resilience and reduce burnout for its patient care providers,” ASHP said in a formal announcement. “These initiatives have been selected by the National Academy of Medicine to promote pharmacists as part of an interprofessional team to address clinician burnout and promote resilience.”

The medical center is one of nine locations for the Virginia Mason Health System, each with one or more primary care pharmacists. The Kirkland location is an outpatient clinic with 30 full-time clinicians, including two pharmacists, which since 2002, has embraced a team-based structure built around professional development and workflow optimization.

“This work, like almost all process improvement at Virginia Mason, leveraged our management method called Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS), modeled after the Toyota production system. It optimizes care delivery by eliminating waste, standardizing processes, and spreading the work to the right operators,” said Richard Furlong, M.D., section head and medical director of the center.

Promoting Engagement, Contentment

Well-being is promoted in several ways. One is the physical structure. The building is set up in two concentric circles. The inner ring has exam rooms while the outer ring has clinician workstations. Patients are brought immediately to an exam room when they arrive; there are no waiting rooms. Integrated care teams include pharmacists, advanced registered nurse providers, physician assistants, physicians, and medical assistants who able to move among the teams as needed. All employees are encouraged to submit ideas on improving processes, with suggestions reviewed weekly by leadership. Leaders promote a culture of engagement, teamwork, and respect for people, which includes making time for professional development.

Contentment is also promoted through pharmacists and other clinicians working to the full extent of their education and training systemwide.

“When pharmacists and other teammates help, and the work is evenly spread, it creates a collegial atmosphere that engages people and reduces burnout,” Dr. Furlong said. Pharmacists in the state have provider status and can bill for medication management appointments. They see some of their own patients between provider visits, answer all patient questions about medication, and have the authority to make changes to therapy.

Expanding Pharmacist Roles

In the early days, the pharmacist’s role was limited to anticoagulation management, noted Dr. Furlong. The team then started to look at other clinical conditions that could use pharmacists’ help, such as lipids and hypertension. They created a Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention clinic.

“We convinced our doctors that it was in everyone’s best interest to refer our patients for lipids and hypertension management to our pharmacists,” he said. It didn’t take long for data to accumulate, indicating their quality metrics were higher than other clinics not employing pharmacist management, so they continue to expand the pharmacists’ role.

Roger Woolf, Pharm.D.

Now, the health system’s 22 clinical pharmacists—all board-certified in ambulatory care— manage patients in additional areas such as chronic opioid therapy, hyperlipidemia, behavioral health management, anemia management, and smoking cessation. Practicing under the state’s collaborative drug therapy agreement, pharmacists can manage multiple conditions at once, easing provider workload by helping with direct and indirect patient care, said Jenny Park, Pharm.D., BCACP, a clinical pharmacist with the medical center.

“We refer to it as skill task alignment,” said Roger Woolf, Pharm.D., administrative director and chief pharmacy officer for the Virginia Mason Health System, of the team-based care model. “Our pharmacists manage drug therapy. They can prescribe, they can change doses, order labs and other diagnostics to ensure the patient’s medications are being used with the right intent or getting the desired outcomes. If you’ve got a full spectrum of patients coming in, some of whom need in the weeds medication management, who’s the best person? The majority of the time, that’s going to be the pharmacist.”

Adds Dr. Furlong, “What makes people feel engaged is not just giving a pat on the back or a reward, because eventually, if the work they’re doing is not meaningful, that reward will feel hollow. You respect people when you help them to develop professionally and to work at the top of their abilities.”

Increased Job Satisfaction

Jenny Park, Pharm.D., BCACP

Through this process, pharmacists have been able to help the health system achieve certain quality measures, Dr. Park said. For example, a few years ago, Washington State had depression management rates of less than 40%. Investigating, Dr. Park and colleagues discovered that some patients would abruptly stop their medications because of side effects or because they felt the drugs weren’t working fast enough. The health system began a process through which pharmacists would follow up with any patient started on medication for anxiety or depression after two weeks through a telehealth visit to assess side effects or reassure them to allow more time. From there, they reassess every six weeks, noting improvements in medication adherence and patient-reported outcomes.

The Kirkland workday also incorporates mandatory pauses. Pharmacists see patients for 20- to 40-minute visits throughout the day. They have one built-in 20-minute pause in the mornings and one in the afternoons that they can use to catch up on documentation or other indirect patient care tasks without feeling frenzied. Additionally, leadership supports activities like team discussions on being inclusive and honoring diversity, and quarterly workshops about empathetic communication skills. A Joy at Work team arranges outings to bowling alleys or potluck meals.

With all of these items in place, job satisfaction has been high, Dr. Furlong said. In a 2018 employee satisfaction survey, 93% of clinicians reported they were content or engaged.

Winning the ASHP award has been gratifying, he said. “It feels good, especially for the pharmacists who do so much work, to share this award with them.”

“I love my job, I love my profession, and I love bragging about Virginia Mason and sharing all that I do,” Dr. Park added. “To be able to do that on a bigger level nationally is amazing. The possibilities are endless for what pharmacists can do.”

Drs. Furlong and Park were part of a team that presented information on their model through a national webinar in January sponsored by the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). ASHP is an original sponsor of the NAM Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience and is proud to represent pharmacy in interprofessional efforts to address the critical workforce and patient care issue of well-being and resilience.

By Karen Blum


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VA Clinical Pharmacy Practice Office and Pharmacy Residency Program Office Win ASHP Board of Directors’ Award of Excellence

Anthony Morreale, Pharm.D., M.B.A., BCPS, FASHP

WHEN ANTHONY MORREALE, PHARM.D., M.B.A., BCPS, FASHP, started working for the Veterans Health Administration (VA) in 1985, only a few pharmacists had advanced practice prescriptive authority in the ambulatory care setting, and the majority of their clinical practices were in hospital-based acute care. As the VA evolved into more of an ambulatory care-based system, the role of clinical pharmacists continued to expand.

Prescriptive Privileges

Now, a decade after the VA and Dr. Morreale launched a dedicated Clinical Pharmacy Practice Office (CPPO), the health system has a highly interactive, supportive infrastructure to engage pharmacy leadership, share best practices, and promote the role of clinical pharmacy specialists (CPSs) system-wide. Over 4,500 CPSs, about half of all pharmacists in the VA. have prescriptive privileges as part of their advanced practice roles managing patients in primary care, pain management, mental health, acute care, and antimicrobial stewardship.

It’s a primary reason why the VA Pharmacy Benefits Management CPPO and Pharmacy Residency Program Office (PRPO) were among two recipients of the 2020 ASHP Board of Directors’ Award of Excellence.

“The VA CPPO and PRPO developed and implemented comprehensive strategies to expand advanced clinical practice excellence and post-graduate pharmacy residency training,” ASHP said in a formal announcement. “These innovative efforts resulted in greater patient access to care, improved patient safety, identification and treatment of substance use disorders, and enhanced care coordination.”

According to Dr. Morreale, the CPPO work started in primary care with the VA’s system-wide adoption of the team-based care medical home model, which embraced pharmacists with prescriptive privileges playing key roles in those teams.

“That just happened to be a natural marriage that really helped expand the role of clinical pharmacy specialists in ambulatory care,” he said. “Having pharmacists embedded in all of those teams really launched a number of initiatives.”

Boot Camps for Pharmacists

The pharmacists initially helped manage patients with core diseases like diabetes and hypertension, said Dr. Morreale. Then the CPPO created clinical boot camps in different geographic regions to train primary care pharmacists on additional conditions they would encounter in ambulatory care, including osteoporosis and pain management, utilizing a train-the-trainer model where they would go back and teach their colleagues. In 2015-2016, with the approval of better drugs for hepatitis C, CPPO held national boot camps to train hundreds of pharmacists, who eventually managed over 30% of all hepatitis C patients, resulting in nearly 100% of those patients having a clinical cure from the disease.

More recently, CPPO, in conjunction with the Office of Rural Health, has held boot camps focused on expanded primary care, mental health, and pain management efforts to fill an identified gap in comprehensive medication management in the veteran population. In this project, over 180 CPSs were hired across 63 VA medical facilities focused on improving veterans’ access to comprehensive medication management in rural settings.

“The physicians really appreciate the comprehensive medication management support, because many of those disease states have either complex pharmacotherapy or require a lot of hand-holding of the patients, and they may not have the time or bandwidth to do it,” Dr. Morreale said.

Additionally, CPPO holds leadership trainings for pharmacy champions, conducts site visits with VA center leadership to promote the role of clinical pharmacists, and operates a coaching and mentoring program through which new clinicians and pharmacy leaders are paired with seasoned pharmacists. It’s been a multi-pronged approach to expanding roles for CPSs that was built one step at a time, said Dr. Morreale.

“We obviously don’t do all of this work to win an award—we’re doing it to do the right thing and take care of the Veterans,” he said. “But it’s always nice, after 10 years of hard work with some major successes, to have the recognition of ASHP and national attention to the program. Maybe as a result, there will be more programs that will start to implement the same type of strategies.”

Innovation in Residency Training

Lori Golterman, Pharm.D.

The VA also was recognized for its work in post-graduate pharmacy residency training. The VA operates the largest pharmacy residency program in the country, said Lori Golterman, Pharm.D., National Director of Residency Programs and Education for the PRPO, with some 272 residency program directors, and 628 residents and fellows. About 60% of residents are recruited into full-time positions with the VA when they complete training.

“We’re extremely innovative with our programs,” Dr. Golterman said. Residents have trained in a variety of areas including mental health, rural health, pain, neurology, and oncology. “We are the leaders in psychiatric training, with approximately 77 residents trained annually, as well as pain, neurology and other specialties such as ambulatory care. We were recognized with this award for our latest expansion of pain residencies. We are training 15 residents a year, and it continues to grow as former residents are eligible to become residency program directors.”

Besides monthly calls with residency program directors and residents, PRPO supports teaching and preparing for accreditation visits, responses to surveys, preceptor development, resilience, and much more, Dr. Golterman said. “PRPO supports its trainees throughout the year, with a variety of learning opportunities. The residency year starts with a project design and statistics course, a learning program for presenting articles and evaluating literature, quarterly leadership presentations, monthly conference calls, resilience training, and periodic surveys to check on well -being,” she explained.

The Federal Resident’s Council —a group of 25 residents that include VA and Indian Health Service residents (next year it will include the Department of Defense)—provides information to residents nationally through several committees such as a professional development committee; research committee; networking committee; and an IT committee. The Council works with the Residency Advisory Board to support issues like virtual interviewing and mentoring.

Promoting Resilience

The program also dedicates a lot of time to resilience. “We were among the first to identify stress, anxiety, and depression among

Virginia Torrise, Pharm.D.

residents and report it to ASHP,” Dr. Golterman said. PRPO brought in a psychologist to help with these issues and promoted using mental health resources offered through the VA’s employee assistance program. And, with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the residency program quickly adopted virtual training methods for situations where residents could not be on-site.

Dr. Golterman noted that receiving the ASHP Board of Directors’ Award of Excellence is a reflection on the entire team. Her residency advisory board has a combined 240 years’ experience in pharmacy. “They are the heartbeat of the program, and they spend a lot of their own time to support the residency program directors and preceptors and strive toward excellence,” she said.

Virginia Torrise, Pharm.D., deputy chief consultant of Pharmacy Benefits Management professional practice for the VA, added, “Drs. Morreale and Golterman have ensured that the VA has highly qualified, advanced pharmacist-practitioners serving our veteran patients on interdisciplinary teams to meet VA priority needs in primary care, mental health, and pain specialty.  Their work has ensured VA expanded clinical pharmacy telemedicine services to our Veterans who reside in rural health settings and addressed difficulties commuting to a VA clinic. I couldn’t be prouder of their leadership, foresight, and dedication to advancing residency training and clinical pharmacy practice in the VA.”

By Karen Blum


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October 26, 2020

ASHP Continues to Expand Engagement Opportunities and Advocacy Impact

Filed under: From the CEO — Amy Erickson @ 9:05 pm

Dear Colleagues,

ASHP is always striving to develop the best tools, resources, advocacy, and education so our members can provide optimal care to their patients and grow, develop, and advance their pharmacy careers.

I would like to highlight a few recent examples of how ASHP supports leadership development and facilitates meaningful connections so that our members can continue to thrive in today’s rapidly evolving healthcare landscape.

Opportunities in our Newest ASHP Sections

Recently ASHP launched the Section of Community Pharmacy Practitioners, providing a distinct membership home within ASHP for pharmacists, student pharmacists, pharmacy residents, and pharmacy technicians who practice in community/ambulatory pharmacy-based settings and who are involved in direct patient care, leadership and management, and implementation of advanced practice models and education. The new Community Pharmacy Section is currently accepting applications for the inaugural Executive Committee, which will play a pivotal leadership role in shaping the future of this important new membership group. This is an exciting new opportunity for ASHP members to further advance care at the community level, and to help improve continuity of care for patients in and across all patient care settings. Executive Committee members will provide major leadership, guidance, and advice to ASHP on ways to better meet the needs of community-based practitioners and leaders. The deadline for applications is Nov. 2. I encourage you to apply as we hope to further engage you in ASHP!

This week is National Health Education Week. I’m pleased to share that the Executive Committee for our recently launched Section of Pharmacy Educators will be conducting its first meeting on Friday. Pharmacy educators have played critical roles in ASHP for many years. The idea to create this new section came directly from our pharmacy educator members and reflects ASHP’s strong desire to further support them in developing more seamless and bidirectional communication and engagement between pharmacy education and hospitals and health systems. The Executive Committee is chaired by Dr. Marie Chisolm-Burns, Dean and Distinguished Professor of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy and Professor of Surgery in the College of Medicine, who will lead this initial meeting to help establish the tone and strategic direction for the section. I am looking forward to attending the meeting and engaging with this impressive new group. I am confident that the section will get off to a strong start.

Recent Engagement Opportunities

ASHP’s virtual Conference for Pharmacy Leaders, celebrating a milestone silver anniversary, concluded earlier this week. ASHP held the first conference 25 years ago with 150 attendees to emphasize leadership development for the profession. This year’s conference was an overwhelming success, bringing together 500 attendees with strong representation from hospital and health-system pharmacy administration and leadership residents. Attendees participated in virtual roundtable discussions and breakout sessions to connect, strategize, and exchange ideas on telehealth, women in pharmacy leadership, COVID-19 business recovery, and multi-hospital pharmacy services. Our keynote speakers, Deb Boelkes, M.B.A., B.S., and Bryan K. William, DM, shared leadership strategies and solutions that dovetail with ASHP President Tom Johnson’s inaugural themes of transformation, servant leadership, and acting on your truth. Thank you to the current and aspiring leaders who attended this exceptional event.

Our virtual National Pharmacy Preceptors Conference kicks off tomorrow. The agenda is rich in education and networking opportunities to help attendees stay current with the latest accreditation standards. If you haven’t already registered for the National Pharmacy Preceptors Conference, there is still time. I encourage you to take advantage of the many networking opportunities, training tips, and advice that have been developed to help preceptors of residents and students learn and apply best practices.

Rounding out ASHP’s efforts to provide members with leadership and engagement opportunities is our inaugural ASHP Pharmacy Executive Leadership Alliance (PELA) Summit, which will be held next week. ASHP created PELA earlier this year as a new engagement opportunity to provide distinctive, interactive, and highly productive networking, strategic planning, and professional development activities for pharmacy executives in complex hospital and health-system settings. PELA provides a venue to address the increasing demands for integrated strategic decision-making to ensure we are advancing medication use that is optimal, safe, and effective for all people all of the time across our nation’s multi-hospital health systems and integrated health networks. More than 170 pharmacy executives representing multi-hospital health systems and major hospitals and academic medical centers are participating in the event, which is focused on business recovery and rebuilding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ASHP continues to create new engagement opportunities to meet the needs of our members who hold a wide array of leadership positions within their organizations. Whether you are a clinician, preceptor, mentor, new manager, or seasoned pharmacy executive, ASHP has a wealth of exciting new programs and opportunities for service, networking, knowledge-sharing, and personal development. We hope you continue to take advantage of these exceptional opportunities. Be on the lookout for new and innovative programming as we continue to enhance our offerings in support of our diverse membership.

The Latest ASHP Advocacy Efforts

ASHP is engaged in a wide array of advocacy on your behalf. I would like to highlight a few key recent ASHP efforts. ASHP called on policymakers to provide transparency into the quality of drug manufacturing as part of our legislative objectives developed with the American Hospital Association, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology to address drug shortages. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced new programs that focus on drug manufacturing quality. These programs align with our legislative objectives, and we applaud the FDA for launching these programs to improve the transparency of drug manufacturing quality.

ASHP and our partners — 340B Health, America’s Essential Hospitals, the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Catholic Health Association, and the Children’s Hospital Association — are advocating on your behalf to support the 340B Drug Pricing Program. We launched a digital advertising campaign opposing pharmaceutical manufacturers’ actions that threaten to undermine this program. The campaign targets policymakers and has been viewed 8.6 million times. ASHP is also coordinating with our partners to promote messaging on social media about how 340B benefits hospitals, health centers, clinics, and your patients using the hashtag #Protect340B.

We’re also continuing to engage on multiple fronts to advocate for an effective vaccine rollout plan. Most recently, we shared key insights from ASHP’s Principles for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution, Allocation, and Mass Immunization during Friday’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) National Vaccine Advisory Committee public meeting. We requested that details related to the storage and handling of any approved vaccine(s) be made available as early as possible to assist our members in planning for Phase 1 allocation and distribution.

Tomorrow, we are participating in HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s Operation Warp Speed COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Strategy briefing for a discussion on distribution logistics, security, and planning assumptions related to the COVID-19 vaccine. We look forward to providing you updates on that briefing. We also submitted comments and will be attending the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting tomorrow to provide guidance as the agency continues to plan for the approval and authorization of COVID-19 vaccine(s).

We are actively working with many other leading healthcare organizations as well to support clear guidance and leadership on vaccine preparedness efforts. Most recently, we united with 19 other health organizations to form the National Associations’ COVID Vaccine Leadership Council to complement the efforts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HHS, and Operation Warp Speed, and support state-level efforts. Additionally, we continue to update our dedicated COVID-19 Vaccine webpage, which includes tools, resources, and other support that I hope you will leverage as we work to support you through this public health crisis.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this week is National Pharmacy Week. Please view a short video message from me. I am so proud of the extraordinary responsiveness, resilience, and camaraderie shown by ASHP members during this extremely challenging year.

Thank you for being a member of ASHP and for everything you do for your patients and our profession during these very challenging times.



October 19, 2020

ASHP Members Highlight the Value of Board Certification

Katie Hughes, Pharm.D., BCPPS

WHEN SNEHAL BHATT, PHARM.D., BCPS, was going through pharmacy school and residency training, he noticed that the pharmacists and mentors he looked up to most all were board certified. So when he completed his training in 2001, he pursued his board certification in pharmacotherapy to achieve expertise in pharmacy practice and emulate those who inspired him.

Professional benefits

Dr. Bhatt, a clinical pharmacist in cardiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and an ASHP member since 1999, said this distinction comes in handy on a daily basis.

“Most of my patients have a variety of other disease states and comorbidities that aren’t necessarily cardiology-related, and that’s an area where I have just as important an impact in patient care,” said Dr. Bhatt, who also is a professor of pharmacy practice at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University. “While I certainly help with recommending medications for patients’ primary cardiovascular problems, I often find myself having to help the team with non-cardiovascular medications, too. Being well-rounded as a pharmacist and well-versed in a variety of drug therapy options outside of your specialty is essential to pharmacy practice.”

Being well-versed in your field is just one of the professional benefits pharmacists can reap from becoming board-certified, said Angela Bingham, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCNSP, BCCCP, FASPEN,  an associate professor of clinical pharmacy at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. She is also a clinical pharmacist in the medical/surgical intensive care units at Cooper University Hospital, in Camden, N.J.

Angela Bingham, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCNSP, BCCCP, FASPEN

She and other pharmacists enjoy the validation of their clinical knowledge and competency beyond licensing requirements, she says. There also can be financial incentives related to salary, promotions, and new practice opportunities that emerge. With a seed grant from the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS), Dr. Bingham and one of her residents are investigating the prevalence and value of board certification among pharmacy practice faculty at colleges and schools of pharmacy in the United States. A previous survey indicated that one of the most important benefits identified by participants was gaining personal satisfaction by accomplishing professional goals that were important to them.

Advanced practice opportunities

Dr. Bingham is board certified in three areas: pharmacotherapy, nutrition support, and critical care, and now works with ASHP on the critical care review and recertification programs. She first pursued pharmacotherapy board certification as a PGY-2 critical care pharmacy resident, then pursued certification in nutrition support and in critical care as those emerged as areas of passion and specialization for her after she completed a residency.

“It really impressed me that board certification is a gold standard for determining which pharmacists are qualified to contribute to advanced practice roles,” said Dr. Bingham, an ASHP member for 14 years. “I also was impressed by the rigorous processes BPS uses to help ensure that board certified pharmacists are trained to meet the expectations of interprofessional health care teams and saw specialization as an opportunity to improve patient outcomes. I was drawn to the complex, evolving nature of critically ill patients and the team structure of care within the ICU environment, which led me down this path.”

Improving confidence and becoming an expert in pediatric care inspired Katie Hughes, Pharm.D., BCPPS, to pursue board certification in pediatric pharmacy. Dr. Hughes had a long interest in working with children but found that she needed much more information during a pediatrics rotation in pharmacy school.

“It was overwhelming from a clinical and emotional/social perspective,” said Dr. Hughes, who now works with the pediatric ICU at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University in Indianapolis, as well as the burn and rehabilitation units. “I realized that a lot of the kids we were seeing then weren’t the textbook kids we looked at in school. They were different sizes, had different volumes of distribution, had different clearance rates, their organs were totally different, and we didn’t have black and white guidelines to tell us what to do.”

Dr. Hughes, an ASHP member since 2012, said she did appreciate helping patients through their illnesses and watching their incredible ability to bounce back and recover. When BPS introduced the pediatrics pharmacy board certification during her PGY-2 year, she jumped on it. She attended ASHP’s board prep meeting as part of her training. Now, Dr. Hughes helps ASHP develop curricula for its board recertification.

“The medical profession has some imposter syndrome, and I don’t think that’s uncommon in pharmacy either,” she said. “You want to make sure you know what you’re doing, and sometimes you’re hesitant because you don’t have that confidence. The board certification helped me with that, and making sure I was taking the best care of patients I could.”

Certification offerings

BPS recognizes 14 pharmacy specialties, of which ASHP has available resources, including review courses, for nine currently: Ambulatory care pharmacy, critical care pharmacy, cardiology pharmacy, compounded sterile preparations pharmacy, geriatric pharmacy, infectious diseases pharmacy, oncology pharmacy, pediatric pharmacy, and pharmacotherapy. Soon, ASHP and the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) will offer a review package for the transplant pharmacist exam, including an online review course and practice exam.

ASHP and ACCP also partner to provide resources for the Ambulatory Care, Cardiology, Geriatric, Infectious Diseases, and Oncology specialties.

Whether to pursue board certification always will be a personal decision, Dr. Bhatt said. There are so many specialty areas now board-certified that it allows every practitioner to find their own home.

“For anyone who really has a desire to stay as advanced in their practice, and as broad-based and up-to-date as you can, board certification is one of the best ways to do so because it’s a very structured environment, and you know you’re getting high-quality education from your peers in terms of what matters for pharmacy practice,” he said.

ASHP programs

Dr. Bhatt originally had to make his own study guides from reading textbook chapters, guidelines, and primary literature. But more recently, while pursuing recertification, he has taken advantage of ASHP’s continuing education programs. Many of ASHP’s activities offer dual recertification credit for pharmacists with more than one specialty credential.

“There are several ways I can get board certification credits through ASHP throughout the year,” he said. “It allows us to fit those activities into our schedules in a convenient fashion so we can maintain our board certification without being intrusive to our day-to-day practices or family lives.”

Board certification is “certainly a commitment that can’t be taken lightly,” added Dr. Bingham. “But it can ultimately be very professionally rewarding.”

By Karen Blum

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