HealthPRO Pharmacist Profile Series, Part I: Mario Bédard
Q: What inspired you to become a hospital pharmacist?
A: Two things: as a pharmacy student at Laval University, I was lucky enough to get a part-time job at a local hospital. I saw what a hospital pharmacist did and that got me interested. And, more significantly, one of my professors was heavily involved with clinical work in a hospital setting. Her enthusiasm, excitement and energy towards this work inspired me.
Q: How has your role evolved?
A: Throughout my career, I’ve liked, welcomed (and sometimes sought out) change. My role has evolved from a staff pharmacist with direct patient access, to performing a regional role with a drug information program, to my current role. As a director, I help senior management understand the role of pharmacy within the hospital and get the resources we need to continue our work. I guess I’ve gone from interacting with one patient to influencing the practice of pharmacy.
Q: What is the most interesting or exciting prospect you see on the horizon for hospital pharmacies?
A: The expanded scope of practice. Allowing pharmacists to independently assess patients and prescribe, or adapt, prescriptions will continue to shape and change how pharmacists are perceived. As well, more and more IT solutions on the horizon will help us on the clinical side. For example, data systems that help us zoom in on more acute patients who need the intervention of a pharmacist. We are in the process of implementing such a system at the Ottawa Hospital.
Q: What is the one thing you’d like readers to know about the hospital pharmacy supply chain?
A: That the hospital pharmacy is basically two departments in one.
The first encompasses the clinical role that happens on the wards. These pharmacists do not have a hand in the distribution of medications. The other part of our practice is the technical side. The side that makes sure that the right drug gets to the right patient by the right method. We also created a technician position that just deals with issues related to the supply chain---whether it’s a backorder, a change in pill colour or a barcode issue. In relation to the supply chain, both parts are important and need to be done.
During a 24-hour period our 1,100 patients will need at least one prescription so, that’s a dance we do every day.
Q: How does being part of a national GPO help you strengthen patient safety?
A: Provincial rules for drug procurement are strict and being a part of HealthPRO has helped us tremendously in this area. Having a national organization building quality and safety into its processes means that we don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” every time.
Being part of a GPO brings a unified voice to issues that require change. As part of a large group, our concerns get the ear of those who can influence practice (barcodes, for example).
In the area of backorders, HealthPRO has been proactive and works hard for us to find solutions. It is all work we had to previously do individually. That was a waste of our resources. Now we have people who can provide us with options and solutions.