Pharmacy services are a vital component of successful facility operations. The consultant pharmacist plays a key role in overseeing pharmacy services, ensuring regulatory compliance and optimal therapeutic outcomes. Here are 5 things to consider when selecting a consultant pharmacist.
First, ensure that the consultant pharmacist has an active pharmacy license in the state. Also, search for a consultant that is a Doctor of Pharmacy and a Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist. Working as a consultant pharmacist requires specialized clinical skills. Pharmacist with the additional clinical training and certifications have been trained to provide a different level of clinical service. Consultant pharmacists should carry a license card with them. License eligibility can also be verified on the Texas State Board on Pharmacy website at http://www.pharmacy.texas.gov/dbsearch/pht_search.asp. Facilities can also search for a Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist on the Board of Pharmacy Specialties website at https://www.bpsweb.org/find-a-board-certified-pharmacist/.
2. Regulatory Knowledge
Facilities depend on the consultant pharmacist's report and recommendations to maintain or improve compliance. The consultant pharmacist should not only be a resource for clinical information, but for regulatory information as well. Look for a consultant pharmacist that can demonstrate an advanced knowledge of the CMS State Operations Manual and the Interpretive Guidelines. A facility can test a consultants knowledge by presenting regulatory questions and evaluating the consultants ability to provide an accurate and prompt response.
3. Strong Communication Skills
The consultant will need to communicate directly with administrators, physicians, nurses, medication aides, surveyors, and residents. Look for a consultant pharmacist that can demonstrate effective written and verbal communication. Consider scheduling a meeting with the consultant and request a service presentation. This will provide an opportunity to evaluate the consultants ability to clearly and concisely communicate.
4. Insured and Immunized
Consultant pharmacist are often contracted workers, and not facility employees. Ensure that the consultant pharmacist has active liability insurance. Since they have access to residents, also ensure the consultant pharmacist is current with his/her immunizations and has been screened for TB. Have the consultant present proof of insurance, an immunization record and TB screening results that can be filed accordingly.
5. Emotional Intelligence
A consultant pharmacist's clinical and regulatory knowledge is really only as useful as his or her ability to understand people and to collaborate with others. Self-awareness, motivation, and empathy are key components of emotional intelligence. Ask the consultant, who inspires you and why? What are your company's cores values? How would you work with the facility to understand or carry out a shift in needs? His/her response can help you determine if the consultant is self-motivated and if his/her priorities align with your facility.
Author, Adrienne Bridges Pharm. D, BCGP