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Leaders in Pharmacy 2019: Sherif Guorgui

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United Pharma Group, founded in 2013, is a network of independent pharmacy owners across Canada. “We want to ensure members have access to tools and programs so they can meet the needs of their patients in this ever-changing landscape,” says Sherif Guorgui, who as CEO sets the strategic direction for the organization and is responsible for its day-to-day operation.

 

by donalee Moulton

 

EDUCATION: University of Cairo (Pharmacy)
CURRENT ROLE: CEO, United Pharma Group

United Pharma Group, founded in 2013, is a network of independent pharmacy owners across Canada. “We want to ensure members have access to tools and programs so they can meet the needs of their patients in this ever-changing landscape,” says Sherif Guorgui, who as CEO sets the strategic direction for the organization and is responsible for its day-to-day operation.

Why did you want to be a pharmacist?

I am a third-generation pharmacist. I recall spending time as a child helping my grandfather at his pharmacy and I saw first-hand how patients appreciated him and valued his advice, and the impact he had on their lives. That truly inspired me.

What has given you the most satisfaction as a pharmacy professional?

I have been involved in the profession in various capacities: as a practitioner, operator, regulator, advocate and executive. As a community pharmacist, it was tremendously rewarding to see how I was able to make a difference in my patients’ lives. When serving as president of the Ontario College of Pharmacists, it was very satisfying to be actively involved in the regulation of the profession, advancing the standards of practice and governing pharmacies, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in a manner that protects and serves the public interest. On the advocacy side, being a voice for my colleagues was equally fulfilling. Now, I get to help pharmacists deliver better care for patients. The profession is rapidly evolving, and there are significant opportunities to evolve further.

What actions can pharmacists take to become more adept at enhancing their value to patients?

Pharmacists act to enhance value to patients each and every day with each and every prescription or consultation. Of course, there is always more we can do, especially as scope expands and as we reshape how we conceive of health care. In pharmacy, we are stepping away from a dispensing model and looking at a service-provision model. The use of pharmacy technicians, for example, enables pharmacists to spend more time with patients on issues of relevance and importance to them.

At United Pharma Group, we recognize that the needs of every pharmacy business and every pharmacist’s practice are unique. We have just launched a continuing education portal that members can access for free. Our new platform provides a wealth of information on novel clinical programs and covers everything from how to use the latest technology, to where to access the necessary tools to help pharmacists better serve their patients’ needs. It is a one-stop resource.

How important is cultural change to the delivery of enhanced value to patients?

The profession has to continuously embrace an ongoing culture change, on both the practice and economic sides. I believe the best approach is to adopt a structured process that involves three main steps: inform, engage and empower. For example, while president of the Ontario College of Pharmacists, I implemented new outreach initiatives such as the president’s monthly newsletter and the president’s confidential mailbox, which were exceedingly successful at the time in driving a much-needed culture change through inviting, encouraging and fostering ongoing and productive communications with members.

What are patients looking for from their pharmacist? How do they define “value?”

Every patient is different. Patients see value when pharmacists help them to achieve their desired health outcomes, which would vary from one patient to the other. Hence, pharmacists need to ensure they engage with patients to identify those unique health outcomes, and not treat everyone the same. Interprofessional collaboration is also imperative to help lead to better patient outcomes.

Click on each link to read profiles of the 2019 Leaders in Pharmacy:

  • Video featuring all the 6th annual Leaders in Pharmacy
  • Dayle Acorn, executive director, Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy
  • Justin Bates, CEO, Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada
  • Allison Bodnar, CEO, Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia (PANS)
  • Ashesh Desai, executive vice-president pharmacy, Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation
  • Mark Dickson, pharmacist executive
  • Lisa Dolovich, Ontario College of Pharmacists, University of Toronto faculty of pharmacy, University of Waterloo school of pharmacy
  • Pierre-Marc Gervais, pharmacist-wwner, Pharmacie Pierre-Marc Gervais, Montreal
  • Sherif Guorgui, CEO, United Pharma Group
  • Manon Lambert, executive director, College of Pharmacists of Quebec [L’Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec]
  • Sean McKelvey, CEO, Institute for Personalized Therapeutic Nutrition
  • Michael Wright, CEO, Rubicon Pharmacies

Leaders in Pharmacy, including this independently written article, is supported by Pfizer Canada Inc.

 This article appeared originally in the January 2019 issue of Pharmacy Practice + Business and Canadian Healthcare Network.