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Quality and consistency the keys to ACP’s strategic plan

December 15, 2021
The 2021-25 plan aims to ensure pharmacy can meet the needs of Albertans now and in the future.

For the better part of two years, ACP Council worked with facilitators to develop a five-year strategic plan. The plan aims for the college and pharmacy teams to better meet the needs and expectations of Albertans by focusing on areas that the college has direct control over. These include entry-to-practice requirements, licensee responsibilities, and practice improvement. It also looks to allow for more innovation via a modern and relevant regulatory framework (through changes to legislation and standards) and the collection, use, and analysis of data.

Council began its work by conducting an environmental scan of emerging and future trends that could impact pharmacy practice, the health system, and the role of the college in the not-so-distant future. They first considered the pace at which change is occurring—particularly technology. Consider that before 2010, not that long ago, there were no such things as iPads, wearable fitness trackers, smart watches, and many other technological advancements we take for granted today. The only constant is that the pace of change continues to increase. That means pharmacy practice must be able to adapt—and adapt quickly—to changing technologies and expectations of patients.

The environmental scan identified some key themes that became front and centre:

  • quality versus sustainability,
  • artificial intelligence,
  • automation,
  • security,
  • privacy,
  • erosion of trust in professions, and
  • population demographics.  

Council considered these themes and how they might affect pharmacy practice over the next five to seven years.

“The scan became the foundation to developing the strategic plan,” said Peter Macek, Council President. “It helped us identify issues to keep on our radar such as work force, access to pharmacy services, changes in self-regulation, external impacts on pharmacy practice, contemplating what a pharmacy might look like in the near future, entry to practice, and regulated members taking ownership of their practice.”

Council then worked to develop five strategic goals to be achieved by 2025:

  1. All applicants are ready to practise pharmacy in Alberta’s health system.
  2. There is a modern and relevant framework to regulate pharmacy practice.
  3. Licensees are qualified and held responsible for practice in their pharmacy.
  4. Data intelligence is used by registrants and the college to make more informed decisions.
  5. Registrants identified as not being able to meet practice expectations demonstrate practice improvement.

“From an overarching point of view, the five goals focus on quality of care,” said Peter. “By the end of 2025, we’ll achieve several things. We’ll see that people have the proper skills and a keen awareness of our health system so they’re able to perform at an acceptable level right out of the gate when they become eligible to practise. A modern and relevant regulatory framework will ensure that we can accommodate more of what practice looks like today and what it will look like in the coming years. There will be more opportunity for pharmacies to innovate within the bounds of the college. Licensees will really lead the charge in ensuring that we have excellent pharmacy service throughout the province. While I acknowledge that we’re all individuals, I’d like to collectively see an overall improvement in the quality and consistency of care that Albertans get as an outcome of this plan.”

To arrive at the five goals, Council leaned on the input of many stakeholders including regulated members, other health organizations, and each other. Council members were able to consider different points of view. Peter kept an open mind during the discussions and used the strategic planning process as an opportunity to learn.

“I’ve learned that pharmacy practice is broad, it’s foundational to the health care of Albertans, and that this strategic plan journey is so key to making sure that Albertans get the best pharmacy care in the world,” said Peter. “I reflect on some of the ACP Connect sessions and the input from everyone including regulated members, Albertans, and stakeholders. Our success depends on our regulated members and stakeholders being aware of the plan, providing input to us, and buying into the plan so that collectively we will reach these goals.”

If there’s one thing Peter takes away from the strategic plan process, it’s that Council left no stone unturned.

“I want to underline how thoughtful and detailed the process was,” he said. “We didn’t rush into this plan. We allowed the time we needed to ensure we were focusing on the right things for the people we serve—Albertans. I’m proud of how this plan will meet their needs as we take pharmacy into the future.”

In this edition of Full Scale, we’ll take a detailed look at each of the college’s five strategic goals, including the main objectives for each and what success will look like by the end of 2025.