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Leading Locals to Better Health
Richard Chooi
For Richard Chooi’s pharmacy, focusing on diabetes, pregnancy and infant care helped foster and build patient trust and health outcomes.

For Richard Chooi’s pharmacy, focusing on diabetes, pregnancy and infant care helped foster and build patient trust and health outcomes.

As a high-street retail pharmacy 
in Sydney's inner city suburb of Paddington, our primary motivation for providing health services is to build and reinforce health awareness among our local community. For our existing patients, we provide them with further information about and better management of their medical conditions.

Many people we see complain about the time pressure and inconvenience that makes it difficult for them to see their doctor, whereas we are there to provide health advice and medication counselling and assistance. We have added a full
time clinical nutritionist with naturopathic qualifications to assist with complementary medicine queries and recommendations

Diabetes a specialty

Over the past decade the incidence of diabetes in the Sydney area has almost doubled. Type 2 diabetes is of the greatest concern to me because higher numbers
 of medications for it are being dispensed. However, its preventable nature and strong association with lifestyle factors suggest that further monitoring and information from pharmacy could help patients understand and manage their condition.

There are an increasing number of enquiries from people with diabetes 
that can be solved with education and demonstrations by pharmacy staff. Many patients are not aware of how to use their diabetes equipment or supplies, e.g. blood glucose monitoring meters and lancet devices; or of the importance of proper injection technique like using the right length needle and rotating injection sites. Regular checks and demonstrations can assist patients with these simple changes that not only help them use items more efficiently but also improve their health outcomes.

Fertile ground in paediatrics

Under our health and wellness category, pregnancy and baby care is a strong focus. Many local young families have new-borns and toddlers and require advice from head to toe as well as services to give them (and us) peace of mind.

We therefore provide advice on nutrition, e.g. selecting optimal baby formula for paediatric issues, such as anaemia and iron intake. This can spare the time and necessity of parents and baby visiting a doctor - although we obviously assist with referral to a GP when required. During recent outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease, community pharmacy support helped reduce the impact on public health. We also provide travel advice for children and solutions for parents managing their teething child, e.g. compounding special teething gels.

Team structure and benefits

Our pharmacy focuses on four health service areas: health and wellness, monitoring and management, pharmacy services and treatment. For each of
these categories, we have a designated 'champion' who will educate the other staff. Including patient focused services in these areas improves patients' treatment adherence and trust. This ongoing relationship means that as health care professionals, we can better track a patients' condition and monitor their improvements and general wellbeing more closely over time

Our services also create a point of conversation with patients about how they are feeling in general and also promote cohesion between staff members. They also provide pointers for staff as to how they will manage and assist patients.

Richard Chooi, BPharm, MPS, JP, is a compounding chemist with the PCCA and proprietor of Blooms The Chemist, Paddington, Sydney