How useful is your board of pharmacy website?
Monday, March 26, 2018
Boards of pharmacy in each state exist to regulate and oversee the practice of pharmacy within their jurisdiction. Board members have an enormous responsibility to promote public safety and compliance with all relevant rules and regulations.
And there are a lot of regulations. Keeping up to date on the most current developments within the state you practice pharmacy can be challenging. This is where a well-designed, visually appealing and information-rich website can be valuable to practicing pharmacists.
How does your board of pharmacy website measure up to the rest of the country?
While most boards are offering online license renewals, contact info and access to the most basic forms, some boards really go the extra mile. The following are some of the key features I have found on various board websites that can make the website practical and engaging for pharmacists.
A unique website? To begin with, does your board of pharmacy even have their own unique website on which to display their useful tools and resources? Some boards of pharmacy exist online only as a piece of a larger state government department, such as the Department of Consumer Protection or a Board of Regulatory Affairs.
This tends to cause confusion when navigating to the resource you want, as you sometimes find yourself lost on a page no longer related to pharmacy. A great example of a unique website exclusively for the board of pharmacy would be the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy site, which is a very well-organized website design.
Frequently asked questions? Does your board website have a list of questions that are often asked by pharmacists practicing in the state, and has it been recently updated? For example, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy has an FAQ section in the main navigation bar, with a drop-down for questions by patients, pharmacists or prescribers.
Newsletter access? Does your board of pharmacy regularly publish a newsletter that can be accessed from the website and allow you to subscribe to future updates? Email newsletters are a great way to engage practicing pharmacists. Unfortunately, not all boards of pharmacy take advantage of this — or if they do, they hide their newsletter and subscription page so deep into their navigation that it is hard to find.
Some state board of pharmacy newsletters are kept on the NABP site, which is less helpful than having it on their own page. Kudos to the Kansas Board of Pharmacy for a useful newsletter page with access to previous newsletters and a subscription form for the future.
Social media? Does your board of pharmacy engage in any social media posting? Are their social media pages and identities easy to discover from their website? Do they actually use their social media platform to help educate pharmacists and the public about pharmacy law?
The state of Florida Board of Pharmacy appears to have a Twitter account, but doesn't post often. A great example of a well-used Twitter account by a board of pharmacy is the NC Board, which posts updates more than once per week (though their board website could use some fresh design work).
Meeting minutes? Can you read the minutes from previous board of pharmacy meetings, and are they posted in a timely manner? The Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy posts minutes in a timely manner on their page. But the winner for the most accessible board of pharmacy minutes goes to Florida for posting minutes in minutes in both PDF and audio files.
Self-inspection forms? Does your state board of pharmacy offer a self-inspection form to prepare you for a pharmacy inspection? Are these forms readily available and up-to-date with the most current list of items to check? Many states conveniently make these forms available to their pharmacists, like Ohio, Massachusetts and California.
Our boards of pharmacy have a tough job to do, but a well-designed, visually appealing and updated website could possibly make their job easier. When a board website is packed with useful information that is easy to find, pharmacists have an easier job keeping their pharmacy compliant and their patients safe.
If there are features you would like to see on your board of pharmacy's website, maybe it is time to reach out, speak up and make a suggestion.
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