Judith Choquette purchased her 2,200-square-foot store in 2009, but she’s quick to point out it is a family pharmacy that has been in existence since 1962. As the third owner, she is serving three generations of customers.
Education: Université de Montréal (Pharmacy)
Current role: Pharmacy Owner, Proxim, Longueuil, Montreal
Judith Choquette purchased her 2,200-square-foot store in 2009, but she’s quick to point out it is a family pharmacy that has been in existence since 1962. As the third owner, she is serving three generations of customers. She is not new to ownership, having run a pharmacy for several years before accepting a position with McKesson Canada, where her role included overseeing continuing education for the company’s banners. “It made me want to walk the talk,” she says. “I wanted to take an average pharmacy and make it a pharmacy of the future.”
What are the keys to success for pharmacists today? It’s imperative that we add value for patients. This could mean something like regular callbacks to patients, which make a tremendous difference. You must be truly interested in pharmaceutical therapy. It is getting so complex. As a pharmacist and owner, you must have an interest in management because the pharmacy today is very different from 15 years ago. Getting involved in your profession is important. If we don’t speak out for ourselves, we will be overlooked.
How can pharmacists demonstrate value to patients? Pharmacists are often too shy and too humble. We do a lot of things, and we don’t tell people about them. We need to speak out about what we do. Patients must have an understanding of the services we provide. That requires that we get out from behind the counter. Being fast is a trap. You can’t be fast, good and accurate. We need to redefine what constitutes good service.
What role do pharmacists play in improving the health system? We’re like the goalie in a hockey game. We are the last chance to catch any problems patients may have with their drug therapy. But we are also a vital voice for the patient. As pharmacists we play a key role in adherence and education. Our role also involves helping physicians and other healthcare providers. We should have a true partnership with others in the health system.
What else should pharmacists do to demonstrate their value? Medications and health care cost a lot of money. Pharmacists need to understand more about the role they play in patients’ lives and the health system. We need to understand the big picture. There are more and more studies that demonstrate what we are bringing to health care. But it goes beyond enhancing our own knowledge. We must engage in politics. When people speak about medicine and health in the media, pharmacists should be quoted. We need to become central in these areas.
How do you anticipate pharmacy will change in the next few years? When I was fresh out of school, I was excited by the tremendous change in the profession. We should embrace change. Pharmacy is a profession that is so resilient. We won’t disappear tomorrow. We need to have confidence in our future. That future is about relationships. It’s about clinical expertise. We need to emphasize the action we take with patients and for patients. This will involve payment for value-added services. We are looking at a period of redefining ourselves.
Leaders in Pharmacy, including this independently written article, is supported by Pfizer Canada Inc.