2020 has brought many of us challenges we have never experienced before. With this long year coming to a close, I find myself reflecting on the past 12 months and contemplating the possibilities 2021 will bring.
In the healthcare community, 2020 will be remembered as the year virtual care became a necessity for society. Government, healthcare regulators, and Albertans embraced this new way of delivering and receiving care. 2021 may bring with it much uncertainty. While I am certain that the demand for virtual care will increase, I do have some questions for us to ponder:
- With virtual care technologies developing at an exponential pace, how can pharmacy professionals adapt to this rapidly changing environment in a more permanent way?
- What does “in-home pharmacy services” mean to pharmacy professionals and, more importantly, to Albertans?
- How might pharmacy professionals use virtual care possibilities to not only maintain but improve the health of Albertans?
- How are relationships developed and nurtured in a virtual care environment?
- What are the changing roles of our pharmacy teams and what shifts do we need to make to facilitate person-centred care in a virtual care model?
The virtual ACP Connect sessions held in December offered pharmacy professionals an opportunity to reflect, share, and contemplate the new possibilities for which COVID has been a catalyst. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians shared experiences and ideas about how we might embrace the challenges ahead of us and turn them into new possibilities to care for Albertans.
My hope as we leave 2020 behind and head into 2021, is that all pharmacy professionals spend some time to reflect and consider the future of pharmacy, and what possibilities we should embrace to improve the health of Albertans.
As we look to celebrate the upcoming holiday season, I am reminded of the power of human connection on our health and well-being. In a year where nothing has been “ordinary,” I am reminded of how important the ordinary things are in my life. Simple events like family dinners and celebrations, which I once unknowingly took for granted, I now crave deeply. Like many of you, my small family of four plans to celebrate the holiday season differently. As we plan our Zoom Christmas family gatherings, I am grateful the pandemic has occurred at time when technology can facilitate connection in non-ordinary ways.
If you need some downtime, allow yourself the space to take this time to recharge. Pharmacy professionals will be called on in 2021 in ways we don’t yet fully know and being there for Albertans means being there for ourselves when we need it. Wishing you and your families a restful, peaceful, and safe holiday season.