A Preventative and Accessible Form of Health Care
Education and Advocacy Dr. Kishor Wasan explains how can pharmacists' expanding and evolving scope can help alleviate healthcare costs and provide quality patient care.
What if your minor ailments could be diagnosed by a health care provider without having to make an appointment? Someone who could give you vaccinations, help with a smoking cessation program, or perform glucose monitoring or a bone density screening? It's possible — see a pharmacist.
"Pharmacists are accessible and are making a big difference in the lives of our patients."
– Dr. Kishor Wasan
In recent years, there's been a growing recognition that pharmacists have tremendous skills and bring immense value to the health system. As a result, their scope of practice has expanded and while there is some variability in practice between provinces, pharmacists are now seen as frontline care providers in the same way nurses and doctors are.
The evolution of pharmacy practice
"This is an exciting time in the pharmacy profession, because we are able to deliver proactive health care, which leads to a healthier population, prevents unnecessary hospital visits, and saves the health system millions, maybe billions of dollars," says Dr. Kishor Wasan, currently the Dean of Pharmacy and Nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan and incoming President of the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada (AFPC) and Incoming Dean of the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto. "We are not taking away the role of doctors, but we can provide a range of health services that will free up doctors to focus on more acute care cases."
Pharmacy has evolved from a profession that traditionally was seen to be about selling products to one that is now delivering medication and health expertise. "Pharmacists are accessible and are making a big difference in the lives of our patients," explains Dr. Wasan. "We are able to work one on one with them and get to know their unique health needs."
He notes pharmacists will become even more integrated into the health system, working together in clinics alongside, nurses, nurse practitioners and doctors to provide proactive, high-quality care.