The Coronavirus pandemic has truly elevated the stature of pharmacists to be essential healthcare providers, working side by side with GPs and allied health providers.
Pharmacists have long known that our role is critical to the health of the community. Community pharmacies not only dispense medicines to the most vulnerable, but as local and global crises throughout 2020 have shown, community pharmacies are a crucial, trusted source of healthcare, advice and support.
By placing patient care at the core of what we do, future community pharmacies will become an integral part of the healthcare system, creating a stronger industry and a healthier community.
Over this current decade pharmacies can lead the way by:
- Providing more health services — Providing services such as health monitoring and vaccinations have seen the role of pharmacies grow over the last few decades. Adopting new technologies, increasing professional development and Government support will build on this growth and see community pharmacies become a healthcare hub, easing the burden on our primary healthcare system.
- Becoming a health partner — Developing a deeper understanding of our patient’s needs at a personal and individual level provides the valued care and support they need. Community pharmacies that become a health partner throughout every stage of their patient’s lives will become central to the community’s care and wellbeing.
- Combining new technology with human connection — While technology will undoubtedly influence healthcare in the future, community pharmacies can provide a model of care that combines AI, respectful use of patient data, cybersecurity, and other emerging technologies, with a genuine human connection. Technology will help pharmacies deliver collaborative health solutions, and give patients the ability to better manage their medication adherence and monitor their health issues, reducing disease burden, especially for those suffering from chronic illness.
- Providing equitable healthcare for all — Community pharmacies provide equitable healthcare across rural and suburban areas. With a deeper understanding of their local residents, community pharmacies can tailor health services to support different community groups.
Community pharmacies that build supportive relationships with their patients can do more for their community’s health and wellbeing. By developing a deeper understanding of their patient’s needs and personal circumstances, pharmacies can provide the best care possible.
As we head to 2030, a community pharmacy with a collaborative, patient-centred approach to treating and preventing illness will play an important role in improving community health, easing the burden on our healthcare system, and establishing pharmacy as a true health destination.