Brave new world


Over the last 10 years we have seen a tremendous change in the community pharmacy industry in Canada.

Whether it’s a shift in reimbursement from dispensing to expanded practice or moving forward to value-based payments, significant shifts and changes have occurred and continue to occur every day.

To be successful in the future, no matter how turbulent the path forward may be, pharmacists need to create a vision for their business based on how they can provide a differentiated practice. Although dispensing remains an important function, it has been commoditized by lower margins and competitive pressures. This new environment has forced pharmacists to innovative to sustain their businesses in new ways.

As dispensing margins continue to drop, the focus for pharmacists should be to deliver highly impactful, cost-effective care that can generate healthy outcomes for their patients.

But how?

Programs such as medication adherence, smoking cessation, immunization, minor ailment assessments, and other impactful practices will resonate with third party payers to reduce their cost curve for health expenditures. Other innovative programs such as pharmacogenomics, point-of-care wellness and prevention, and medical marijuana over the ability for pharmacists to provide patients with customized solutions to maximize patient health.

As the market shifts so must pharmacy practice. Pharmacies need to become more efficient in dispensing so that they can shift their focus to clinical activities.

An important first step forward towards future success is the implementation of an Appointment Based Model (ABM). Many successful ABM programs also use medication synchronization and a proactive refill workflow in order to create the environment for a transition to clinical practice.

With the ABM in place, pharmacists will have the time and the tools to thrive in this brave new world.