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AACP Policy Framework 

Improving health, healthcare and controlling costs: A policy framework for academic pharmacy

The mission of pharmacy education is to prepare graduates who provide patient-centered care that ensures optimal medication therapy outcomes and provides a foundation for specialization in specific areas of pharmacy practice; participation in the education of patients, other healthcare providers, and future pharmacists; conduct of research and other scholarly activity; and provision of service and leadership to the community. (Source: Academic Affairs Committee, 2007) This mission is critical for the protection of the public health and the assurance that pharmacist graduates are competent to meet state regulatory requirements as stated in individual state practice acts.

Discover, Learn, Care…Improve Health. As the tagline of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy states, our members meet the mission of pharmacy education through the mission of higher education teaching, research, service, which are all focused toward the end of improving health. Improving health by focusing on individual and population health is one of the three elements of the “triple aim” [1] of a reorganized healthcare system. The other two elements are improving healthcare to improve the patient experience and controlling costs through cost-avoidance strategies.

Academic pharmacy and all of health professions education, does and should contribute to improvements in individual and population health.

As an organization, AACP will influence public policy so our members are able to: 

Improve Health

As a nation we spend more per capita than any country in the world and have health outcomes for some public health indicators that are worse than some of the world’s least developed nations. The cost of chronic illness is bankrupting Medicare, creating an overwhelming onus on primary care providers and negatively impacting families, communities and business in lost productivity, lost days in schools and poor care coordination. Academic pharmacy will work to improve the health of individuals and populations so that our nation’s leading health indicators reflect a healthy, productive population through:

Teaching

Engage in evidence-based learning strategies that integrate the concepts of clinical prevention and population health into the professional curriculum.

Strengthen the competence of pharmacy students to provide evidence-based clinical prevention and population interventions as members of a healthcare team.

Research

Engage in scholarly activity that improves the evidence-base of clinical prevention and population health interventions.

Service

Provide clinical prevention and population health interventions that are evidence-based and support the whole patient and not just an individual with the absence or presence of disease.

AACP Policy

AACP supports the development and implementation of curricular components and associated instructional strategies which assure a common set of core competencies and knowledge concerning population-based epidemiology, the determinants of health, effective programs in health promotion and disease prevention, and primary health care services delivery for all health professionals. (Source: Professional Affairs Committee, 1994)

 

Improve Healthcare

Recognizing that we receive poor value terms of health outcomes and quality compared to many other nations the quality chasm has been the subject of numerous reports published by the Institute of Medicine. The “quality series” of the Institute of Medicine, way back in 2003, recommended that we educate healthcare professionals competent to deliver patient-centered, team-based care, supported by informatics, in order to improve the quality of care patients receive. Academic pharmacy will work to close the quality chasm and support innovative approaches to health systems reorganization through:

Teaching

Engage in evidence-based learning strategies that provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide patient-centered, team-based care, supported by effective and meaningful use of informatics and committed to quality improvement (IOM 2003).

Advance the quality of health professions education including interprofessional and culturally competent approaches by enhancing curricula and courses to reflect the current state and continual changes in healthcare through regular assessment.

Research

Advance the concepts of team-based care through use of a scholarly approach to interprofessional education and the development of successful practices grounded in evidence-based higher education theory.

Continue to develop, refine, implement and disseminate successful practices focused on student achievement and progress and competencies associated with educational outcomes and accreditation standards.

Strengthen our nation’s ability to address individual and population health problems by engaging in basic research to cure disease, translational research to improve the quality of care delivery, and health services research to improve the way in which care is provided and determine successful practice patterns that include fair and equitable payment to team-based practitioners.

Service

Participate in federal, state and local efforts aimed at improving healthcare delivery systems including those forthcoming from the CMS Center for Innovation, HHS Office of the National Coordinator (HIT) and HRSA Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative.

AACP Policy

Colleges/schools of pharmacy should work to advance learners’ human cognition, ethical developments, and behavior. Meaningful strategies include teaching and assessing ethics, cultural competency, intra- and inter- professional teamwork and community engagement with underserved populations. (Source: Board of Directors based on Argus Commission, 2008)

AACP and colleges and schools of pharmacy should assure that students, faculty and alumni have sophisticated and continuous preparation in the design and use of health information technology (HIT) and systems and are prepared to apply HIT in evidence-based decision-making at the point of patient care. (Source: Board of Directors based on Argus Commission, 2008)

AACP supports and encourages the implementation of on-going program assessment processes at member institutions for the purpose of enhancing the quality of educational programs and student services. (Source: Academic Affairs Committee, 2004)

AACP supports interdisciplinary and interprofessional education for health professions education. (Source: Professional Affairs Committee, 2002)

 

Control Costs

Patient, providers and payers must all work together to ensure that the healthcare services that are provided reflect an appropriate balance of scientific-evidence and recognition of patient-centeredness so that unnecessary costs are avoided and health outcomes are maximized. Academic pharmacy will engage in actions that will increase the value of healthcare through:

Teaching

Engage in evidence-based learning strategies that prepare pharmacy students to be aware of the: cost impact of their actions; evidence-based guidelines to align health outcomes with cost; opportunities to improve the quality of care through quality performance measures; advocate for practice changes that can reduce the cost of care without decreasing care quality; utilization of information systems; and processes that support cost avoidance such as adverse event reporting.

Research

Engage in scholarly activity that seeks to improve the capacity of health information technology to effectively and efficiently input quality performance measures that can lead to cost avoidance or cost reductions.

Engage in scholarly activity that evaluates the real and expected impact of health and economic outcomes associated with quality performance measures.

Engage in scholarly activity that contributes to and evaluates the evidence used to develop practice guidelines.

Service

Prepare faculty and preceptors to present as role models the utilization of quality improvement and cost avoidance strategies in which they endeavor to inculcate within pharmacy students.

AACP Policy

Research that explores the social, economic, organizational and clinical factors that influence the outcomes of drug therapy in prevention or treatment of disease should be central to the mission of all colleges/schools of pharmacy. (Source: Educating Clinical Scientists Task Force, 2008)

 

Approved by AACP Board of Directors, February 10, 2012.

 

References:

[1] The IHI Triple Aim, www.ihi.org. In this document AACP paraphrases the IHI triple aim.  The IHI triple aim refers to “the simultaneous pursuit of three aims: improving the experience of care, improving the health of populations, and reducing per capita costs of health care.”

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