July 10, 2020

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Super pharmacists ease doctors' burden

Make patient care run smoother

Dr. Jamie Falk is one of four extended-practice pharmacists in Manitoba. They prescribe and manage patient medication.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Dr. Jamie Falk is one of four extended-practice pharmacists in Manitoba. They prescribe and manage patient medication.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/9/2014 (2123 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Meet Dr. Jamie Falk, one of a new brand of pharmacist in the province -- a so-called super pharmacist.

Falk is one of four pharmacists recently registered as extended-practice pharmacists, a title that recognizes they have specialized training to not only prescribe and manage a patient's medication, but to see them in much the same way as a doctor would.

"It's going to allow for smoother flow within the clinic," Falk said Tuesday. "The patient experience will be more efficient."

Falk practises at the Kildonan Medical Centre at the Seven Oaks General Hospital, along with the clinic's nine physicians and one nurse practitioner, and specializes in the drug therapy of acute and chronic diseases.

Falk said the new designation means patients will spend less time waiting to see a physician. They can discuss their treatment with Falk, instead, because he'll already be familiar with their case.

"We share our decisions," Falk said of his work with the clinic's physicians. "Each team member is going to support the decisions that the other team member makes."

"The efficiency will be there, meaning that a decision can be made that is felt to be the best one. The patient is in and out of the clinic potentially quicker."

The extended-practice pharmacist designation is another sign the role of the pharmacist continues to evolve. Changes in the past few years allow pharmacists to prescribe medication, interpret patient self-administered tests, order lab tests and administer flu shots.

The push to expand a pharmacist's scope of practice started in 2006 under the Pharmaceutical Act.

Health Minister Erin Selby said the extended-practice pharmacist is a new kind of specialist.

"Super pharmacists is not a bad way to put it," Selby said.

"These are folks that have worked at least 1,000 extra hours and have two years of extra training in a health-care setting before they can get this designation."

Falk said with more pharmacists earning the designation, it will allow for more focused patient care.

"Right now, my patients have fairly good access, but that will improve knowing that I can sign off on things in an expedited fashion," he said. "I think any physician would tell you once they come out of medical school that because they have a lot of content knowledge it doesn't mean they're a good prescriber. They develop that over time. I think patients will be happy to have another person who's skilled in that way."

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

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