COLLABORATIVE DRUG THERAPY AGREEMENT
Training CDTA Participants
Most pharmacists are aware of their potential role in public health. While a pharmacist’s knowledge of his/her role in public health may have been started clearly when he/she was a student, continuing education is important for any healthcare professional to understand the latest strategies in the field. When a collaborative effort between local health departments and pharmacists is made through a Collaborative Drug Therapy Agreement (CDTA), all participants should be knowledgeable on the components of the agreement. There are two different types of training and materials that should be developed to support potential activation of a CDTA:
- Background education includes materials that are aimed at educating potential participants well in advance of activation of a CDTA.
- Just-in-time training will be necessary in the event of activation of CDTA.
- Getting the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) or state board of pharmacy approval for CDTA-related training provides an incentive for pharmacists to attend trainings.
Background or anticipatory education of pharmacists could cover a wide variety of topics. The education materials will need to help pharmacists understand the goals of the health department, the importance of their involvement in response to a public health emergency, and the need for reporting and communication with LHDs. Pharmacists require training about the emergency event they may respond to, including how to assess patient illness, how to triage, when to refer patients to a clinician, and what their therapeutic options for prescribing and dispensing are within the CDTA. Finally, training should encompass different levels of response, waiving or suspension of laws or regulations such as labeling each prescription, emergency-use authorizations, shelf-life extension, broadening of patient age restrictions, personal safety, and emerging issues and resolutions of those issues.
Just-in-time training may fulfill many needs at the time of an emergency and support the activation of the CDTA. Just-in-time training acts as a quick refresher for those that have completed previous background training, or can be a necessary training for pharmacists or technicians asked to respond to an emergency who never received any previous background training. LHDs should develop just-in-time training objectives and curriculum in advance, as well as apply for continuing education credits (CE), but wait until the details of the specific outbreak or event are understood fully to insert event-specific details. Ahead of time, lessons learned from similar events can be used to begin to form treatment and prophylaxis recommendations. Just-in-time training can provide information specific to the outbreak, such as target groups for treatment, exposure details, resistance, manifestations of illness, stockpile supplies and priority groups. Just-in-time training should also orient pharmacists to screening tools and reporting systems.
Continuing Education Credits
Pharmacists are required to complete continuing education annually, as are many other healthcare professionals. Getting Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) approval for CDTA-related training provides an incentive for pharmacists to attend trainings. State pharmacy associations and colleges of pharmacy are often the primary pharmacy continuing education (CE) providers in a state. They can host educational sessions in conjunction with LHDs at local meetings and state CE meetings, as well as online trainings. Additionally, these groups can print articles in their alumni and membership magazines to increase pharmacist awareness of CDTAs. Many pharmacy boards approve CE training and there is a national association that approves pharmacist continuing education credits, called the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
LHDs should consider partnering with an ACPE accredited CE provider in their state. ACPE charges a fee for each CE credit it approves, so funding may need to be set aside to provide for this. One strategy is to team up with local or state pharmacy associations to offer relevant training at their regularly scheduled monthly, seasonal or annual meetings. To obtain CE credit through ACPE, the CE provider will need curriculum vitae for each speaker or curriculum developer, objectives and a course description. The CE provider will know each ACPE or state board of pharmacy requirement in greater detail, and will be a great resource during CE development for the LHD.