Healthcare reform is a high national priority for the public, policymakers, payers, health professionals and healthcare organizations. This reform will be driven by multiple factors including patient and caregiver demand for higher quality and safer care at lower costs; health professionals who are pursuing safer care for our society; health professional shortages; and demographic, social and economic influences. Hospital and health-system pharmacists need to engage now in the development of a future practice model that is responsive to healthcare reform and the health system of the future.

This practice model must be futuristic and reflect the evolution of numerous aspects of pharmacy practice in hospitals and health systems over the last 50 years including:

  1. medication-use policy and product selection;
  2. medication distribution;
  3. clinical pharmacy practice;
  4. pharmacy technician roles;
  5. pharmacists’ roles as organizational leaders;
  6. adherence to standards-based practice;
  7. response to the medication-use safety quality and safety movements in the U.S.; and
  8. impact of technology.

Additional factors that have impacted hospital/health-system pharmacy practice include curricular changes in colleges/schools of pharmacy that led to an entry level Doctor of Pharmacy degree, increasing numbers of pharmacists who undertake residency training, 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, there is an urgent need to engage key stakeholders to create a forward thinking hospital and health-system pharmacy practice model. ASHP and the ASHP Research and Education Foundation will sponsor a Hospital and Health-System Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative that will include a consensus summit, a robust social marketing campaign, and program evaluations. The goal of this initiative is to significantly advance the health and well being of patients by developing and disseminating a futuristic practice model that supports the most effective use of pharmacists as direct patient care providers. This initiative will also create passion, commitment, and action among hospital and health-system pharmacy practice leaders to implement this practice model.