Guild executive director David Quilty has asked pharmacists to cast their minds forward to 2025 and consider how community pharmacies could look.
Highlighting four “clear trends” that are driving the pharmacy of the future, Quilty says that the Guild is already preparing for the Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement, which will cover the period 2020 to 2025.
The trends are:
“Populations are ageing with people living longer with a range of complex, chronic health conditions,” Quilty writes.
“A growing number of people are on large numbers of medicines often for prolonged periods, making issues of adherence, addiction and pharmacovigilance increasingly important.”
Medicines will remain the mainstay of community pharmacies, he says, but in order to remain successful, pharmacies must value-add around their core dispensing role with a greater emphasis on personalised medicine support.
“Government and non-government funders are driven by the need to curtail rising health costs by rationing access, increasing patient contributions and demanding greater efficiency and better outcomes from health providers,” Quilty says.
“The Federal Government will continue driving the hardest possible bargain on new medicine listings and the pricing of generics, with the PBS increasingly becoming a safety net for concession card holders and for high cost drugs.
“Going forward, relying on government funding for dispensing alone will be insufficient to sustain a profitable pharmacy.
“New integrated care models for high cost patients will encourage and reward health providers who take responsibility as part of a patient’s care team for delivering measurable health outcomes.
“Community pharmacies must diversify their revenue base by seeking out new sources of funding that will enable them to play an enhanced role in the primary health and community care spaces.”
Consumers are becoming more knowledgeable and less willing to be told how they will look after their own personal health care needs, Quilty writes.
“Better informed consumers are more mobile and less rusted-on, resulting in more intense competition across the health sector,” he warns.
“Pharmacies that provide quality, value, convenience and personalised care to their patients will be embraced. Those who don’t will become wholly reliant on cost and price as their only differentiator.
“Greater consumer empowerment means pharmacies must have a thorough understanding of their patients and be able to demonstrate that they have the capacity to meet their personal health needs.”
Technology and data
Finally, pharmacy will be shaped by the pervasiveness of technology and data in all aspects of the health system.
“Health decisions from the macro to the individual patient care level will be increasingly driven by the smart use of data and the technologies that maximise its value,” Quilty writes.
“The unprecedented flow and analysis of patient, population and health financial data will become the dominant determinants of future health reform at all levels, from the development of funding and service delivery models, to evidence-based health solutions and the care of individual patients.
“To continue to be successful, pharmacies must embrace and become experts in e-health, tele-health, wearables and remote monitoring devices, and business and health analytics.”
So, what will the pharmacy of 2025 look like?
“The ongoing success of community pharmacy will be underpinned by its two core strengths as trusted medicine experts and highly accessible health destinations,” Quilty says.
“The successful pharmacy of the future will be less reliant on dispensing alone, but will retain a strong retailing presence that combines products, services and support to deliver holistic health solutions that meet the individual needs of its patients.
“It will be intensely patient-focused and integrated with the wider health system; it will have developed new revenue streams from a diversified source of funders and likely specialise in particular areas of medicine or patient care; and it will be data-driven whilst embracing the latest advances in technology.”
He says the Guild is considering these and other issues as it plans for 7CPA negotiations.