There’s more to community engagement than your customers: you also need to think about local health professionals, writes Karen Brown
Community engagement is beneficial to your business from a customer perspective, but it can be even more beneficial if the engagement is with fellow health professionals.
Pharmacies are the first point of call for many patients seeking health advice. Health professionals all play a different role in treating and preventing conditions. It is important that we as pharmacists know who is the best person to refer our patients onto for further assistance.
Collaboration in the community builds a mutual trust between health professionals and subsequently their patients. It is a valuable way to gain new patients into your pharmacy.
Samford Chemmart Pharmacy was this year named Guild Pharmacy of the Year for Community Engagement largely due to our Samford Health Expo. The unexpected benefit of this event has been the relationships formed with fellow health professionals.
Our major initiative has been the formation of the Samford Health Professional Group. This is a group of approximately 20 local health professionals that meet four or five times per year to discuss a specific condition such as diabetes, headaches,back pain and pregnancy.
Samford Chemmart also hosts community health information sessions. In some cases, we host these sessions in collaboration with fellow health professionals to form a comprehensive panel for our patients.
We recently held a Child Health Morning which consisted of myself, our child health nurse, paediatric physiotherapist and paramedic. Nearly 40 parents and children listened to our individual presentations.
The parents really appreciated a “one stop shop” for information on their child’s health and wellbeing.
We have also teamed up with our local physiotherapists who are offering a 12-week Diabetes program being run by their Exercise Physiologist and Dietician. We are offering all participants a Diabetes MedsCheck during the program.
In our new Chemmart concept store in Hawthorn, we have incorporated two professional consultation rooms and highlighted them as the ‘Chemmart Clinic’. This clinic offers a range of pharmacist delivered services alongside allied health services including podiatry, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, maternal and child health nurse as well as a travel clinic.
Community engagement is largely about making it personalised. Personalised referral from a fellow health professional is priceless for your pharmacy.
Just remember their patients are not necessarily your patients, and you will learn a lot about what other professionals actually do.
It is a win-win situation to get to know your fellow health professionals in your community.
Karen Brown is the managing partner of the Samford Chemmart Pharmacy, which was the Community Engagement Winner in the Guild Pharmacy of the Year 2016.