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Excellence in Service Delivery
John Maronese
The ability to provide health services does not depend on the business model, size or location of your pharmacy – it should be part of all pharmacists’ DNA. It is our ‘duty of care’ to not only provide prescriptions and medicine information but to assist our local community in maintaining wellbeing and offering preventive health consultation, information and screening for common disease states. From my experience, your local community will readily accept and participate in health services offered by your pharmacy for a variety of reasons: local demographics, socio-economics and the convenient access to a trusted primary healthcare professional.

The ability to provide health services does not depend on the business model, size or location of your pharmacy – it should be part of all pharmacists’ DNA. It is our ‘duty of care’ to not only provide prescriptions and medicine information but to assist our local community in maintaining wellbeing and offering preventive health consultation, information and screening for common disease states. From my experience, your local community will readily accept and participate in health services offered by your pharmacy for a variety of reasons: local demographics, socio-economics and the convenient access to a trusted primary healthcare professional.

Fact or myth?

Can a discount pharmacy be recognised in the community as a provider of health services? Most certainly, because it is all about the pharmacist, not the pharmacy business model. An excellent example is Anthony Vass, proprietor of Cincotta Discount Chemist Mascot – 2016 winner of the PSA (NSW) Pharmacist of the Year Award.

Anthony said that his need for change came from attending the University of Technology (UTS) ‘Aim High Adherence Program’ and understanding how he could become more effective as a health professional. Anthony realised that he needed to do more than just stick labels on bottles – he needed to differentiate his pharmacy from others in his area, and through the UTS ‘Aim High’ network, Anthony had the opportunity to join and become the PSA pharmacy reference site for the ‘Health Destination Pharmacy’ program.

The start: Pharmacist and staff needed to embrace health services then train to engage daily with customers to establish their health needs, taking a moment to ask simply structured open questions that established which health services needed to be offered for the local community.

The challenges: Implementation is the major roadblock. Pharmacists are time poor and need to seek and commit to the tools offered by professional organisations and/or by the professional services manager of their franchise group. Cincotta Discount Chemist Mascot is a Ventura Health franchise, so Anthony had access to the group’s Pharmacy Services Manager, who acts as a facilitator and mentor in implementing health services, resources, protocols, procedures, reporting and referral forms and promotional material.

Result: Anthony’s Cincotta Discount Chemist has become a ‘go to’ pharmacy in the area for health advice and services, producing increased loyalty to the overall pharmacy business. It started with CPAP machine supply and fitting, and now has a sleep apnoea clinic and offers cardiovascular risk assessment and screening, blood glucose and HbA1c monitoring, BMI assessment, hearing checks, asthma information and vaccinations.

The benefits of service

The most rewarding ratio in your pharmacy is not how many scripts are dispensed per annum, but how many members of your local community to whom you’ve offered daily health services and who attended your disease state clinics each year. This is the true barometer of the professional respect, loyalty and success your pharmacy has achieved. Health services provide pharmacy with recognition and opportunities in the Australian health system.