Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

You are here

Understanding Local Healthcare Needs
Belinda Nankivell
Belinda Nankivell explains how she tailored her pharmacy's offer to meet the demographics of her community.

Opening a pharmacy in Chatswood (Sydney) has been a challenging journey where understanding the local community has been vital to ongoing success. We entered a crowded local neighbourhood and we needed data to help understand what the health needs of the local community were.

We set a high standard in patient care and researched the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) outcomes, Diabetes Australia Diabetes Mapping and other demographic data about Chatswood until we felt we were prepared to support our local community.

The universal language of health

To support the varying ethnicities in our community, we recruited staff who could communicate in languages other than English. We learnt that not only does Chatswood contain over six times more people who speak Chinese when compared to the State average, but also the highest number of Chinese immigrants per capita in Australia.

We initially focused on Mandarin; the next most-needed foreign languages were Korean and Japanese. We also identified an older population of Italian-speaking patients within our community. Our highly skilled team are now able to communicate in Mandarin, Cantonese, Teo Chew dialect, Japanese, Italian and Korean.

New lines, signs and interior

Our strategies evolved by trying to understand the cultural differences in our community. We have had to differentiate ourselves within the Chatswood market to not only support our patients of Anglo Saxon heritage but those with Asian ancestry. We focused on our stock management to offer ranges that were relevant to our community and their preventive healthcare needs. New signage was printed in English and Mandarin to spread awareness.

The ABS data supported a refit we undertook a few years after opening. We significantly reduced our retailing space, which meant we had to make important decisions about how we wanted to be known. We knew that we were very much focused on health so we decided to minimise our beauty offering. Chatswood has a high proportion of families with infants so we knew we needed to maintain a significant offer for our baby category. We also prioritised our travel health section because we have a high proportion of overseas immigrants and expats who travel frequently.

Medical support and programs

We have been fortunate to team with a GP clinic set up within the pharmacy staffed by doctors who also fit well with our community's demographic. This collaboration has worked well and helped to overcome language barriers to provide a full healthcare offer.

By observing chronic conditions in our community, we found our service offer needed adjustment to support a greater emphasis on cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

By utilising data from numerous sources about your area, you can develop a successful community-spirited pharmacy.