It’s nice to have your own research confirmed elsewhere in the world of pharmacy.
i2P have long been talking about a “whole of pharmacy” approach to delivering clinical services.
Every single aspect of a community pharmacy must dovetail, one with the other so that there is a sustainable effect for the whole.
Core Business = Dispensing Services + Clinical Services + Retail
And every component needs to be fully supported by the senior management of a pharmacy – even if your own knowledge base has not caught up.
According to the US Rite Aid pharmacy group, success in retail pharmacy is about integrating the front-end and pharmacy services into one comprehensive care model, John Standley, Rite Aid chairman and CEO, shared this with analysts at the 33rd Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference recently. Rite Aid has been implementing many care initiatives to accomplish just that as the bi-coastal national chain strives to be the go-to choice for retail pharmacy services.
Those initiatives include a store remodel program where the latest developments in healthcare retailing are put on display as part of Rite Aid’s Genuine Wellbeing format store.
“I can’t tell you how excited we are to be in a position to have capital to be invest back into our business and step one for us was really store renovations,” Standley said. “They’re substantially different in the marketplace from our competition. They’ve performed really well.”
i2P has been encouraging pharmacists to involve professional designers to re-invent the Australian physical pharmacy presentation, and also fused to a new paradigm business plan involving clinical services.
We even encouraged global designers Sartoretto Verna to write articles for i2P over the past 18 months. They are only just getting Australian enquiries now against a booming global market.
A key component of Rite Aid’s stores is their Wellness Ambassador, a position that now numbers more than 1,990 associates and helps guide Rite Aid patients toward the most appropriate healthcare information.
i2P has recently identified a Health Station Central located near the front of shop and populated with a team of health and wellness people, led by pharmacists.
One of those people would be someone trained in clinical nutrition and complementary medicine, equivalent to the Rite Aid wellness ambassador
Those initiatives include the Rite Aid Health Alliance, partnerships with local healthcare providers that are focused on improving patient outcomes across a number of chronic and polychronic disease states.
“This is where our pharmacist, a healthcare coach in our store and a provider work together for polychronic patients to develop a care plan,” Standley said.
“Our pharmacist and healthcare coach then work with that patient to deliver that care plan in between doctor visits. This plan helps drug compliance; it helps implement behavioural change; and we think it’s greatly improving the care that these patients are receiving driving healthcare costs out of the system.”
i2P has also identified the front shop window as an integral part of marketing clinical services through display and “connected glass” inset into the front window to provide touch screen computer activity linked to retail promotions and online clinical support.
Additionally, Rite Aid is branching into primary health clinics with the recent acquisition of Rediclinic, a retail clinic model that will see aggressive expansion in the coming years. “We are now rolling out clinics to Rite Aid stores.” Standley said, noting that some 24 had been opened in the past three months with a goal to get to 35 by fiscal year-end.
“We’re really excited about bringing this offering to our stores.”
Although i2P has not publicised one of its researched elements for the new paradigm pharmacy, it is actually designing a “Convenient Care Clinic” that will link collaboratively with GP’s, allied health services, community services and alternate health practices.
It is about 80 percent ready.
Rite Aid’s example of tying it all together into one comprehensive care model is a recent smoking cessation program. “We rolled out a very extensive smoking cessation program that really incorporated the front-end and certain products that are available on the front-end with the pharmacist in terms of the counselling a pharmacist can provide to the patient as well as our healthcare coaches from our Health Dialog acquisition who are also available to help a patient in smoking cessation. So you can see how that model pulls both the front-end and the pharmacy and our other healthcare capabilities together to bring a consumer facing to market that we’re pretty excited about,” he said. “There are a number of other areas that we’re currently working in where we think we’ll have future offerings from dermatology to weight loss, diabetes.” With that medication therapy management is a key part of a number of different models Rite Aid is bringing to market, Standley added.
i2P is quite excited about future pharmacy that we are just standing on the cusp of.
Simultaneously, we are frustrated with pharmacy leadership organisations who are just not putting enough effort into their game plan to deliver community pharmacy from the desert landscape of the past decade.
Compare this the Rite Aid program that is geared to catch the upswing in the pharmacy marketing cycle and states:
“As we look forward, we’ve got newer versions of our Wellness store on the way and we’re working hard to expand pharmacy services to grow our business into the future,” he said. “We’re building a model where our healthcare professionals are an integral part of the healthcare team and an extender of care.
We’ve worked hard to develop the pharmacist’s role, helping the healthcare provider improve patient health,” he added. “We’re working really hard on integrated healthcare services combined with coaching, monitoring and reporting of outcomes,” he said. “The long-term future of our business will be to be much more integrated across the whole store. … There is a huge opportunity to grow the front-end by really making the whole store work together in unison to provide great care.”
So there it is – a proven blueprint that is being progressively fleshed out and expanded placing the pharmacist front and centre of health and wellbeing.
If Australian pharmacy does not “pull its finger out” it will be over-run by competing health care professionals keen to set up a competing system.
Note the new physician assistants that are coming through and the nurse practitioners that are already performing pharmacist roles in settings like nursing homes.
It’s time Australian pharmacists stopped complaining about what they can do and are not directly funded for in a specific activity, and simply jump in and experiment with patients who have the capacity to pay privately.
If you wait for a government thumbprint on that exercise you could be waiting forever and be tripped up by the myriad of lobbyists lining up to cut sections of pharmacy out for themselves.
And pharmacy proprietors, stop trying to cut down pharmacist wages but do try and encourage them to put proposals to you so that you can create partnerships in the clinical area.
Your job is to provide infrastructure, the individual pharmacist provides skills that are marketable.
Just get on with it!