Pharmacy U

Leaders in Pharmacy 2019: Allison Bodnar


For CEO Allison Bodnar, the role of PANS is to advance the practice of pharmacy and ensure its sustainability for the benefit of patients as well as for the pharmacists and pharmacy technicians with whom she proudly works every day.

by donalee Moulton

This translates into two areas of focus: ensuring strong working relationships with government, pharmacy professionals and other stakeholders; and integrating pharmacy practice into mainstream health care. “There are so many stakeholders involved in health care. It is critical to engage them all,” says Bodnar.

How would you describe a great day at work?

When you’ve taken a step forward, that is a great day. It could be something as basic as getting positive feedback from a patient or a member. On balance, good days outweigh the challenging days. You have to be patient – sustainable change does not happen overnight.

What is your greatest challenge as a leader in pharmacy?

Health care is complex. Almost everyone has an interest in it and everyone is passionate. From government to providers to the public, there are always competing interests. We have to find the place where interests overlap and build from there. It is the key to moving forward.

Was there an “aha” moment for you? A moment when you knew that you were making a difference?

I’ve experienced a number of small ‘aha’ moments. Take our Community Anti-Coagulation Management Demonstration Project, for example. In partnership with Doctors Nova Scotia and the provincial health department, 41 pharmacies are offering anti-coagulation management in community pharmacies. Patients get their INR tested and their dose adjusted in one visit to their pharmacy. This reduces the burden on labs and provides patients with convenient, fast and effective care. Patients and pharmacists love it! But getting here took time. There was a lot of work to lay the foundation.

Why is it essential for the profession to take action to enhance the value it brings to patients?

To be blunt, the healthcare system is broken. It is unsustainable. All providers, including pharmacists, need to shout out from the rooftops how we can help. We have an obligation to develop a system that will work. It is about taking action.

It is vital that we capitalize on the skill set of each and every provider, including pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. This will require thinking differently about how we deliver and receive care. We must work together and utilize the assets we have in communities throughout Nova Scotia.

At PANS, for instance, we partnered with physicians to implement the Collaborative Care Demonstration Project. This project, involving 23 physicians and 40 pharmacies, will evaluate sustainable models of colla­boration, specifically between community pharmacies and physicians, and the impact these collaborations may have on patients with complex care needs.

How do you and your team foster a culture of action that promotes patient-centred service?

It is a slow build. Pharmacists are humble. They are reticent to talk about what they do. Patients see pills being counted and believe this is all the profession does. We work with pharmacy teams to make them comfortable about talking about what they do and what they could do for patients. Patients are not getting all they want or need from the healthcare system, and pharmacists have the skills to help them. Our system must move to proactive care to keep patients healthier, and community pharmacies and their teams are uniquely positioned to do this.

Click here for a video of the 2019 Leaders in Pharmacy:

  • Video featuring all the 6th annual Leaders in Pharmacy

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

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