Peter Zawadzki’s consulting business focuses on partnerships, research and education in the areas of cost-effective pharmacy services and health benefits.
He is equally dedicated to clinical practice (works part-time) and advancing and promoting the profession of pharmacy. His passion is to promote the value of pharmacy services to private payers. Peter is a founding member of the Pharmacy and Health Insurance Steering Coalition (PHISC), a forum for dialogue for senior leaders in the pharmacy and insurance sectors. His goal is to secure proper reimbursement for pharmacy services. He jokes, “I’ve repurposed my pharmacy degree in more ways than almost any pharmacist you will meet,”
Photo by Brandon Gray
Education: University of Toronto (Bachelor of Science, Pharmacy)
Current role: Principal, Peter Zawadzki Consulting, Toronto
What intrigued you about being a pharmacist?
My first part-time job, at 13, was as a stock boy at a pharmacy in Don Mills. I had great admiration for our local pharmacist. He was a mentor I looked up to.
What do you think the future holds for pharmacy?
When I was born, pharmacists were limited when telling a patient what medication they were on. Today, we are the experts, managing their medication and ensuring optimal therapy. You’ll never be able to remove pharmacists from the dispensary, but at the same time, pharmacists will soon spend most of their time in an office consulting patients. Now, with expanded scope of practice, there are endless opportunities. To succeed, pharmacists need to demonstrate value, drive demand with patients, and charge for our services. This is the path to optimal patient care and securing reimbursement from patients and payers.
Is pharmacy breaking new ground in the area of patient loyalty?
Dispensing alone does not create loyalty. Delivering personalized healthcare services creates a relationship. The more patients value our services, the more loyal they will be. Each pharmacist builds a following. Aside from location, the main reason patients go to a pharmacy is the pharmacist. Marketing should be focused on the pharmacist and the services provided.
What more needs to be done?
Today people understand we deliver healthcare services, but they do not know what kind. When you walk into the average pharmacy, there is little to tell the public what healthcare services we offer and the fee for these services.
To be successful, pharmacy needs to focus on:
- Demonstrating the value of pharmacy service to our patients, policy makers, and public and private payers.
- Consistent quality and delivery of pharmacy services.
- Promoting and advertising pharmacy services and creating the demand with our patients.
- Embracing new technology and innovative methods to deliver services to patients in an evolving care model.
Personally, how do you build adherence among patients?
Every time we engage patients, we need to answer their question, “What’s in it for me?” Pharmacists are enablers and motivators. We need to identify problems that may prevent patients from taking their medication and offer solutions. Patient loyalty and adherence are intertwined. This is where we can really change the conversation. By providing coaching, we can motivate and educate patients. This is where we need to focus. We’re just on the cusp of something really big.