Healthcare reform is a national priority for the public, policymakers, payers, health professionals, and healthcare organizations. As demonstrated by the Affordable Care Act of 2010, improvements in healthcare delivery are being driven by many factors, including:

  • Patient and caregiver demand for higher quality and safer care at lower costs,
  • Health professionals who are seeking to improve patient care,
  • Health professional shortages, and
  • Demographic, social, and economic influences.

In order to be successful in this new healthcare environment, pharmacists who practice in both acute and ambulatory settings such as Accountable Care Organizations, medical homes, and physician’s offices must develop future-focused practices.

Specifically, pharmacists must be in synch with safe medication use practices, including:

  • Medication-use policy and product selection,
  • Medication distribution,
  • Clinical pharmacy practice,
  • Pharmacy technician roles,
  • Pharmacists’ roles as organizational leaders,
  • Adherence to standards-based practice,
  • Responsiveness to medication-use safety and quality movements in the U.S., and
  • The impact of medication-use technology.

Additional factors that have impacted and continue to impact pharmacy practice in acute and ambulatory care settings include:

  • Curricular changes in colleges and schools of pharmacy that led to an entry-level Doctor of Pharmacy degree,
  • Increasing numbers of pharmacists who are undertaking residency training and seeking specialty certification,
  • Professional expectations that pharmacists will have a direct patient care role,
  • Recognition of pharmacists among interdisciplinary peers as experts on drug therapy and medication-use processes, and
  • Demographic changes within the profession.

At this pivotal time, it’s critical that key stakeholders create consensus on strategies for practice advancement. To achieve that consensus, ASHP and the ASHP Foundation sponsored the Hospital and Health-System Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative consensus summit in 2010 as well as the Ambulatory Care Summit in 2014. These summits sought to significantly advance patient health by developing and disseminating futuristic practice recommendations that support pharmacists’ roles as direct patient care providers. The resulting PPMI (now known as PAI) has become a far-reaching national movement that has sparked exciting patient care improvements in health systems, hospitals, and ambulatory care settings.