ASMI Media Releases – 1. Complementary Medicines Research 2. Repositioning Pharmacy

1. ASMI sponsors new complementary medicines research leadership program

30 September 2014 – The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) is proud to support a unique program for up and coming complementary medicine researchers at the Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM) at the University of Technology, Sydney. This international leadership program is aimed at growing critical scientific research in complementary and integrative medicine.

The program, which commences tomorrow, brings together twelve ‘rising stars’ in complementary medicine research from Sweden, the UK, Hong Kong, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, USA and Australia. It is a world-first program to help develop the next generation of leaders in the field and encourage international collaboration.

All successful fellows have been appointed due to their impressive track records and strong methodological grounding across a number of disciplines including health services research, public health, epidemiology and clinical science.

Known as ARCCIM Leadership Fellows, participants will initially spend four days at UTS building capacity for their own research as well as planning international collaborative research strategies.

Dr Deon Schoombie, ASMI Executive Director said: “There is a rigorous body of complementary medicines research emerging around the world. ASMI is committed to both funding independent research and supporting researchers to build the evidence base for complementary medicines.

“The Leadership Program should stimulate researchers around the world to add to the body of knowledge about complementary medicines.

“ARCCIM’s Leadership Program is inspiring. I congratulate the ARCCIM Team for launching it,” added Dr Schoombie


2. ASMI 2014 Conference: Repositioning pharmacy as a health destination

1 October 2014– Pharmacies need to reposition themselves as health destinations if they are to survive healthcare system reforms, according to Dr Alison Roberts, Director Policy and Practice at the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd (PSA), who will be a keynote speaker at the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) Conference on 18 November 2014.

Dr Roberts will discuss results of the Health Destination Pharmacy Trial, highlighting how new models of pharmacy, which deliver medication management and primary health care services, can lead to enhanced self care and improved business outcomes.

Dr Roberts said: “The traditional dispensary model of pharmacy seems unsustainable given changes in the healthcare system such as reform of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). New business models are needed for pharmacy that are consumer-centric and based on health solutions. The new model needs to be built from the ground up rather than just tinkering around the edges.”

The PSA funded a small trial in 2012 to explore the feasibility of a changed model of pharmacy practice in which the pharmacist is repositioned as a primary healthcare provider and the pharmacy is positioned as a healthcare destination. Dr Roberts added: “The impetus for the trial came from discussions regarding sustainable models of community pharmacy practice that would weather reforms and embrace changes that increase the opportunity for pharmacists to be more involved as primary healthcare providers.”

The intervention involved a coach working with 14 participating pharmacies to facilitate changes in four areas of practice – services, the team, networks and the community.

“All participants involved in the trial increased their level of consumer engagement, and in doing so gained a heightened degree of personal and professional satisfaction,” explained Dr Roberts.

“Consumer measures were also positive, with observed increases in prescription processing efficiency, reductions in waiting times and greater customer retention in-store during dispensing.”

“The five highest performing pharmacies showed that if management effectively shifts from a supply-focused business model to a consumer-focused model, with greater pharmacist engagement at the centre, significant financial benefits are possible, particularly in relation to health-related sales.

“The Health Destination Pharmacy Trial showed that it is feasible for pharmacies to adopt a changed model of pharmacy practice in which the pharmacist is repositioned as a primary healthcare provider and the pharmacy as a healthcare destination.

“The coach assisted pharmacies to increase pharmacist – consumer engagement, target health promotions and professional services to areas of local need, implement and/or increase delivery of professional pharmacy programs and services, improve communication and relationships with local GPs and health professionals, and increase health-related sales and overall profitability. 2

“The community pharmacy network can no longer rely on the PBS for its future sustainability.

Pharmacies will need to have a stronger focus on health service provision, particularly in terms of supporting self care and the treatment of minor ailments.

“The trial showed that with the right support, pharmacies can make this shift. An evidence-based platform, such as the one used in the Health Destination Pharmacy Trial, should be used to support pharmacies through the change,” concluded Dr Roberts.

Dr Alison Roberts: Biographical Information

Dr Alison Roberts is Director Policy and Practice at the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Her career has included roles in community pharmacy, research and consulting.
Alison’s work centres on strategies to manage change at both policy and practice levels; and she has co-authored a book on change management in community pharmacy.

With interests in governance and primary health care reform, Alison holds roles on the 5CPA

Programs Reference Group, the FIP Working Group on remuneration models for hospital and community pharmacies, and serves on the board of Bayside Medicare Local.

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