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Advancing Pharmacists’ Prescribing

Sep 16, 2016
Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

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

AJHP, ASHP’s PEER-REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC JOURNAL, continues to support our members’ efforts to provide optimal patient care with its second theme issue, the September 15 issue on Prescribing. As we work to improve the quality of the U.S. healthcare system, one of the keys to accomplishing this goal is to emphasize the continued use of pharmacists as the healthcare team members who are responsible and accountable for prescribing medications.

As you know, the concept of pharmacists as prescribers is not new, but it is a concept that has gained some traction in recent years. Given our education and training on the science and therapeutic use of drugs, pharmacists are uniquely qualified to prescribe medications. Although controversy still may exist around the concept of pharmacists as prescribers, an optimal solution is an interdependent prescribing model — in the context of team-based care — that employs pharmacists vetted through credentialing and privileging processes. This is a solution that involves pharmacists, physicians, and nurses working together in a professional partnership to optimize patient outcomes. Pharmacists’ prescribing privileges should be limited to appropriately trained and credentialed pharmacists who have access to the patient as well as the complete medical record, and who actively participate with physicians and nurses as members of a healthcare team.

The current AJHP theme issue focused on Pharmacist Prescribing provides a comprehensive view of various approaches to pharmacists’ prescribing activities, including a compelling article on clinical privileging practices at The Johns Hopkins Health System, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, and Truman Medical Centers. There are also extremely insightful articles on pharmacist prescribing practices at the Veterans Health Administration, University of Washington/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, University of North Carolina Medical Center, Virginia Mason Medical Center, University of Utah College of Pharmacy, and Kaiser Permanente. There’s a great article on the approach Canada has taken to pharmacist prescribing, and one on improvements to Ohio’s state collaborative practice act. The articles in this edition of AJHP represent many others examples around the country. This issue will undoubtedly prove to be a must-read and reference for all pharmacists who seek to advance their practice now and in the future.

I hope you enjoy the array of perspectives provided in this theme issue of AJHP and share my enthusiasm about how far pharmacy practice has advanced over the years and what is yet to come. ASHP and its members have played a major role in these advancements, and we should all be very proud!

The Prescribing issue is the second of three theme issues planned for 2016. The first, focused on Specialty Pharmacy, was published on June 1. On December 1, AJHP will publish a theme issue that provides a comprehensive review of pharmacists’ roles in Pharmacogenomics.

Thank you for all that you do on behalf of your patients and the profession.


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