We recently exhibited at the Pharmacy Experience Pharmacie (PXP) Conference in Toronto. PXP2019 is the inaugural event that replaces the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) and Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA) individual conferences. The event is described as “a national gathering for the entire pharmacy community to come together to learn, connect and be inspired about pharmacy as a profession.”
We were excited to find a thriving and growing pharmacy profession that is actively working to expand and enhance their practice to compete in an Amazon world that is increasingly geared towards immediate delivery of anything that we need. Pharmacists are recognizing the need to expand their scope of services to ensure that they are dispensers of information and care, not just drugs.
Much of the discussion at the PxP2019 conference seemed to center on ways that pharmacists can continue to grow their businesses by taking advantage of new regulations and opportunities presented by technology.
Here are our top 5 takeaways on how Canadian pharmacists can survive and thrive in an Amazon World.
1. Lean in to your strengths
Canadian pharmacists are consistently ranked among the most trusted professionals but they are increasingly becoming an afterthought as people pick up their prescriptions along with their groceries or even big screen T.V.’s in stores like Costco. Pharmacists need to do a better job of making sure that patients understand the full list of services they provide. In a Canadian healthcare system that is often synonymous with long wait times, pharmacists need to remind people that they are the one area of healthcare with little to no waiting.
2. Reinvest in education and training to take advantage of expanded scope of practice
Pharmacists in Canada can use their training and education to do more than ever for their patients. For instance, provinces like Alberta allow pharmacists to take on a more expanded role than anywhere else in the country. They can independently prescribe, make adjustments and can inject any drug or vaccine. This trend will continue across the country as other provinces have pending legislation that will further expand pharmacist’s scope of practice. Make sure your pharmacy is ready for these changes by investing in professional development now. Attend conferences like Pharmacy Experience Pharmacie to learn from your peers across the country.
3. Use technology to free up pharmacy professionals to do what medicine is about – Hands on care
With expanded scope of practice and continued competitive pressure, pharmacists in Canada will be stretched more than ever. It is important to look for opportunities to streamline your business to free up your professionals and provide the hands-on heath care and medication management that you are known for. Take advantage of technology to automate your inventory, speed up your checkouts and manage your deliveries. Talk to your technology partners to better understand what they can do to make your life easier.
4. Take advantage of stable regulation to invest
Canadian pharmacists have been on a roller coaster ride of regulation over the last few years. Finally, for the moment they are out of the legislative cross hairs and can expect a more stable regulatory environment. Now is the time to act to strengthen your business to prepare for the inevitable changes that are coming to your industry. Consider launching a loyalty program and expand your online presence to help build your relationship to your customers. Using digital marketing and customer loyalty programs is a smart way to keep your customers coming back to your store and away from online retailers and your competitors.
5. Practice a little self-care
Over 50% of pharmacists demonstrate a high degree of burn out. This is in line with doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Burn out can come from many sources, but as pharmacists are expected to perform faster and more accurately while juggling requests from patients and insurance companies alike, in many cases while trying to manage a business it’s no wonder that it’s so high. Amazon robots don’t get burn out so if you are going to compete, make sure that you make time for yourself to ensure that your patients receive the best possible care. Take time to meditate, exercise and relax to ensure that you are at your best. Many pharmacists find it helpful to connect with their peers through online groups or associations.
Contact Auto-Star today to learn how we can help you to survive and thrive in an Amazon world.