These articles are not intended as legal advice and should not be used as such. When a legal question arises, the pharmacist should consult with an attorney familiar with pharmacy law in his or her state.
Ken Baker is a pharmacist and an attorney. He teaches ethics at the Glendale, Arizona, campus of Midwestern University, and risk management for the University of Florida. He consults in the areas of pharmacy error reduction, communication, and risk management. Mr. Baker is an attorney of counsel with the Arizona law firm of Renaud Cook Drury Mesaros, PA. E-mail at [email protected]
When pharmacies are planning their quality assurance or continuous quality improvement plans, they need to determine whether their goals are strictly conformity with state and federal requirements, or something more.
The best technique for counseling patients is a combination of Show & Tell and the Indian Health Services questions. If pharmacists could quickly decide which prescriptions needed extended counseling, they could employ this approach when it is most necessary. Now there's an algorithm for that.
Pharmacy mistakes can sometimes lead to injury or even death. Pharmacists can be held liable in a civil suit for money damages; now a pharmacist in Ohio may be convicted of a criminal charge in the accidental death of a two-year-old girl. It is possible that the effect of criminal liability upon professional practices will worsen outcomes rather than improve them.
Pharmacists can interact directly and personally with patients only during counseling. This practice reduces the risk of mechanical prescription errors and shows patients what the pharmacist's education and training were all about.
For the third month in a row the pharmacy posted on the wall in the back of the prescription department the pharmacy's success rate. This month the pharmacy's success rate (91%) broke a new barrier. It was cause for celebration.