YFP 122: What Will Be the Future of Pharmacy Practice?


What Will Be the Future of Pharmacy Practice?

Dr. Todd Sorensen, President of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) and Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives & Innovation at the University of Minnesota joins Tim Ulbrich on this episode. They talk through the workforce challenges facing the profession of pharmacy, rising indebtedness, the change.org petition, and Todd’s vision for the future of pharmacy practice including dramatically expanding the number of pharmacists working alongside primary care providers.

About Today’s Guest

Dr. Sorensen is Professor and Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation at the College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota. He also serves as the Executive Director of the Alliance for Integrated Medication Management, a non-profit organization that engages health care institutions in practice transformation activities that support improved medication use. He is currently serving as President of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

Dr. Sorensen’s work concentrates on identifying strategies that facilitate clinical practice development and developing change management and leadership skills in student pharmacists, pharmacy residents and practitioners. His research and service activities have focused on working with health care organizations to implement strategies that improve health outcomes associated with chronic illness, specifically identifying leadership strategies that allow organizations to integrate and sustain medication management services delivered by pharmacists within interprofessional teams. This work has been greatly influenced by ten years of experience participating in and leading national quality improvement collaboratives for health systems seeking to optimize medication use in outpatient settings.

Summary

Dr. Todd Sorensen joins Tim Ulbrich for a conversation covering many topics such as workforce challenges facing the profession of pharmacy, rising indebtedness, the change.org petition, and Todd’s vision for the future of the practice of pharmacy including dramatically expanding the number of pharmacists working alongside primary care providers. 

Todd is the President-elect of AACP and also Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives & Innovation at the University of Minnesota. Todd explains that he believes there are two broad reasons why the pharmacy job market is changing and why the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 0% job growth in the profession over the next ten years. One of those reasons is that there is a lack of perceived value in the medication distribution process. The other is that the professions has seen this coming for 20+ years according to a workforce projection report from 1999. In that report were new roles for pharmacists, however those roles haven’t grown as projected. 

Todd discusses his Presidential address at the 2019 AACP Annual Meeting which was titled Leading in Dickensian Times.” He began the speech with the notable quote, “it was the worst of times, it was the best of times” referencing different viewpoints of pharmacists today. There is a group that sees the current state of pharmacy as the worst of times and are legitimate in feeling that way as they are experiencing job loss, wage cuts, and a saturated job market. However, others see it as the best of times because there is a lot of opportunity available. 

Even though Todd falls in the second category, he says it’s imperative to acknowledge the pressures and difficulties pharmacists are facing today. Todd shares AACP’s plan to address those issues. He also sees a large opportunity for collaboration between physicians and pharmacists and envisions every physician office having a pharmacist working in it. To attain this goal, first we have to have the mindset that it is possible and shift to a model of value based healthcare. He points out that no one is as highly trained and skilled as pharmacists are in managing complex medication problems.

Lastly, Todd addresses the #ChangePharmacy petition on change.org that requests organizations such as AACP halt accepting new accreditation applications until standards are installed, among a number of other requests. Todd explains that the reality is that they are unable to do this. As we’re in a free market society, restricting or halting such openings could be viewed as restriction of free trade. Instead, Todd says that we should shift our focus to create new opportunities for pharmacists that were predicted 20 years ago. This alone, according to Todd, should shift dynamics and balance the supply and demand of pharmacists.

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YFP 122: What Will Be the Future of Pharmacy Practice?