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The Team Effort
Taren Gill
The first early career pharmacist to become a director of the national PSA Board outlines how other relatively recent graduates and junior staff can implement a bespoke health service.

No two pharmacies’ client bases are the same however each pharmacy has unique opportunities to improve health outcomes.

Creating and providing bespoke services customised to your locals’ needs are the next great opportunity for community pharmacy in Australia. The enthusiastic and driven Early Career Pharmacist (ECP) in your team may just be the person in who you should be investing to identify health services that will be valuable in your community. They can also plan and implement them and measure their outcomes.

Sixty per cent of the pharmacy workforce is considered an ECP and my work with the PSA shows that this new generation desires new roles and models of practice that are attuned to community need.

The smoking cessation model

A user-pays fee for a bespoke health service is one way the profession can address this. As an ECP working in the NSW town of Orange, I implemented a smoking cessation clinic where users actually paid to participate.

Part of the business case for our local smoking cessation clinic included approaching work health and safety officers of companies to support their staff in their quit smoking journey and help subsidise nicotine replacement products. My employer sent me to the Lung Health promotion centre at the Alfred Hospital to learn to train others in smoking cessation best practice, and then allowed me to take time to train staff and approach businesses and individuals to take up the smoking cessation clinic/service.

Six steps to bespoke services

Here are some tips for engaging your junior staff to implement a bespoke service:

1. Encourage them to come up with the ideas and show their potential viability – every great initiative needs a champion who leads the project to completion, and every idea can be turned into a one-page plan, with a needs analysis, including the financials and likely patient health outcomes.

2. Education and training – make your team the experts by having them upskilled with the latest information and strategies relevant to the clinical practice area they have chosen to provide.

3. Allow them the time to do this through work – empower other staff to broaden their roles and use smart roster planning to enable face-to-face clinical practice in the service area.

4. Pricing and resources – ensure the necessary resources and marketing are available and research the price point for the consumer to ensure a successful launch, continuity and verification of benefits for patients.

5. Measure the key numbers – monitor one or two outcomes that are clear signs of project success, such adherence to Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) or improved lung function, adjust the system where needed and reward success.

6. Listen to your patients – their feedback may ensure you have a project that is sustainably valuable to them.