What we learned from APP 2017

Another APP has come and gone, and once again the themes of innovation, community health, change and professional services ruled the conference. They were the key issues for all Pharmacy of the Year contenders who were very inspirational.  This week I am going to discuss a couple of concepts that have stuck out in our minds. The Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt spoke of early access, interventions and preventative health outcomes without going to the hospital. Let’s just think about this concept for a little while, it is nothing new I’m sure. But in essence the pharmacy’s role is to screen patients for a range of ailments, then when identified pharmacists can refer patients to the GP. So instead of GP’s and pharmacies at war with each other, they can actual work really well together for the community’s health, and ease the pressure on hospitals. Patients having greater access to pharmacies and being screened more may help prevent patients from going straight to the hospital. They could be treated at the pharmacy and/or GP. This is a better outcome for everyone.

For pharmacies to provide this service a couple of things are needed. The pharmacy may have to be open longer hours and possibly employ specialist educators in areas such as diabetes, asthma, mental health etc. It will require innovation, but the concept is exciting and has potential. You can see a greater collaboration between pharmacy and medical centres. These could be branded and marketed together as a community’s health destination.

This leads to a couple of other issues which need addressing in community pharmacy. In looking at the top Pharmacy of The Year category winners there is urgency by pharmacy owners for greater community engagement. But I would like to extend this further to the need to embrace a solid marketing strategy. I think this is clearly lacking in most pharmacies at the moment and represents a great opportunity to get your message out there to the community, encourage more engagement and improve relationships with your patients.

The other clear noticeable difference this year at APP 2017 is IT and software is developing rapidly and pharmacy owners have access to so many different tools. They assist with planning, strategies, analysis and can dissect pharmacies in so many ways. There are better ways to understand the performance of your business, to plan for the future with better strategies and support with the correct implementation. Take these on and learn a better way.

Lastly our final discussion for this week, the topic of banner groups and their dominance. Much has been said about this, regardless of your views it is your business and you are in control. You must set your vision, you define your own purpose and you set the values by which the store lives by. Take control of your own business. It doesn’t matter if you are independent or part of a banner group in this regard. You set your own path.

If you are looking at new ways to take control of your business and needing some direction, contact us at Peak Strategies. Let’s work together to regain that control.

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