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  • mfarrell04

Collaboration for the win!

When it comes to healthcare, independent community pharmacies like Boscobel Pharmacy are a cornerstone for accessible and personalized care in their communities. One large piece that enables places like Boscobel Pharmacy to expand their scope of practice and provide comprehensive services is the implementation of collaborative practice agreements (CPAs). As a P4 student, my experience with CPAs had been limited, but after rotation here in Boscobel learning from owner Michelle Farrell, I have come to realize the essential role collaborative practice agreements play in patient care and the importance of strong relationships with local providers.

Collaborative practice agreements empower us to take an active role in collaborative care models, enabling us to provide a broader range of patient-centered services. These CPAs foster an environment of trust and cooperation with providers in the community. Through working together, we as healthcare professionals can leverage our clinical knowledge to improve patient outcomes through enhanced medication management, chronic disease state management, and preventive care. In rural towns where healthcare access may be limited, collaboration with local providers becomes even more critical. These agreements allow us to play a significant role in the healthcare system, bridge healthcare gaps, and improve health outcomes of the patients we serve.

The process of drafting and editing CPAs offered me valuable insight into the intricacies of interprofessional collaboration and highlighted the evolving role of pharmacists within the healthcare system. Through my experience, it became clear CPAs require careful consideration of each party’s roles and responsibilities, and clearly outlining the expectations surrounding patient care to ensure an effective partnership. I had the opportunity to work on updating several existing CPAs which included protocols for therapeutic interchanges, one-time refill authorizations, and ordering of OTC products for Medicaid patients. I was also able to work on a new CPA allowing for the modification of drug therapy and dosing to enable patients to meet their treatment goals. Additionally, involvement in organizations that support independent community pharmacies, such as CPESN or NCPA, can also be a great help when going through the process of developing and implementing a collaborative practice agreement.

Another takeaway from my time in Boscobel is establishing trust with local healthcare providers is the foundation of a successful collaboration. Building this trust requires open lines of communication, demonstrating competence and professionalism, and showing the value that pharmacists bring to the healthcare team. Here in Boscobel, Michelle has built a strong foundation with local providers through these ideas, with an emphasis on one shared goal: providing optimal care to patients. She has forged lasting relationships anchored in mutual respect and a shared commitment to high-quality patient care, resulting in the smooth implementation of the new CPA. I remember waiting to go present the CPA to local providers and asking Michelle if there would be any pushback or hesitancy from the team. As it turns out, this was of no concern. All the providers were happy to sign the CPA and were excited for the opportunity this would bring for improved patient outcomes and enhanced efficiency within their practices and the healthcare system broadly.

Collaborative practice agreements empower independent community pharmacists to provide a broader array of services, leading to improved patient outcomes and more comprehensive healthcare for patients within the community. My experience at Boscobel Pharmacy has shown me the difference pharmacists can make when they take an active role in the delivery of comprehensive patient care. My time here has made me excited for the continued growth of pharmacists’ roles in independent community pharmacies and the benefit it will have for patients!

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