Joshua Bayer, PharmD, BCPS, AAHIVP
Council Member, BPS Specialty Council on Ambulatory Care Pharmacy
I recently celebrated World Health Day on April 7 and as we continue into year three of a global pandemic, I’ve seen the role of the pharmacist become more critical than ever to the health of the world and to this country’s patient population. As pharmacists, we have encountered many changes in the healthcare environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we have shifted gears to continue providing exceptional care.
Pharmacists are increasingly involved in the care of patients across all continuums of healthcare delivery. From community pharmacy settings providing health screenings, vaccinations, and other important preventive care, to providing optimal medication management in outpatient clinics alongside providers, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.
As pharmacists continue to be relied upon as medication experts, I find that board certification provides a fruitful avenue to expand knowledge and optimize medication management. Specifically, in my case, the continuous learning required to maintain board certification allows me to stay up to date on treatment guidelines to better manage patients in a variety of disease states including diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, and tobacco cessation. In turn, this means my patients receive the right medications for the right indications to properly manage their chronic diseases.
Additionally, the health of my patients and the impact I’m able to make on their lives is greatly improved thanks to BPS Board Certification. As the number of new medications increases and the rapid, ever-changing landscape of guidelines expands, it can be challenging for practitioners like myself to keep up. I find that BPS Board Certification allows me to keep abreast with these changes and apply the latest advances for the benefits of the individual patients I provide care to on a daily basis – even in the uncertain times we’ve seen over the past few years.
I also value that board certification demonstrates my commitment to lifelong, professional learning. Data published by the Association of American Medical Colleges in June 2021 indicated the United States could see a projected shortage of 17,800 to 48,000 Primary Care Physicians nationwide by 20341. I expect this will further heighten the need for pharmacists to expand the care they provide to patients. I see pharmacist board certification as an avenue to advance our knowledge and to help fill in gaps, whether during care disruptions from a global pandemic or during a shortage of health care professionals.
As pharmacists and healthcare providers continue to work toward improving patient outcomes in the U.S. and internationally, my vision is that more pharmacists consider board certification as one of the premier tools available to make each day a conscious step forward for improving world health.