Lisa Woodill from Halifax is a perfect of example of how pharmacists can take education they are passionate about and apply it in their pharmacy practice to improving patient care and creating a growing patient consultation business.
By Mike Boivin, BSc.Phm.
“I decided to become certified in travel health in 2011, as I saw future changes coming to my scope of practice that could allow me to turn my passion for travelling into something I could use every day in my pharmacy,” says the Sobeys pharmacist.
Not only has she started a successful travel health service in her pharmacy practice, but it has grown so significantly there is interest from Sobeys management to increase patients’ access to this program in other cities outside Halifax.
Pharmacists across Canada are taking more specialized continuing education and certification to improve the care they provide to their patients.
Certifications in diabetes, respiratory medicine, geriatrics and travel medicine are just a handful of the programs currently available. Although this education is providing pharmacists with a new set of skills, some pharmacists are finding it difficult to transform this education into an income stream for their pharmacy.
Lisa Woodill offers her tips for turning certification education into business success:
1. Plan ahead
While studying and getting ready to challenge the certification exam, Lisa was also developing a plan on ways to integrate certification into her Sobeys pharmacy. Her plan involved analyzing the current scope of practice, as well as looking for methods to justify the investment from Sobeys management in this new program.
2. Develop a working relationship with other healthcare professionals
Lisa realized that her current standards of practices were not going to allow her to fully implement a travel health clinic in her pharmacy without the support of another healthcare professional. So she approached and now works collaboratively with a physician in Halifax. Through this relationship, they are able to offer a complete and comprehensive travel experience for their patients as well as a service that sets them apart from other travel clinics in the region.
3. Offer custom solutions
Travel health is an excellent way of delivering patient-centred care, Lisa has found. Every patient needs a custom solution based on their personal medical history, and travel itinerary. Working with a physician colleague and being part of the travel health community allow her to confidently recommend the best options for travellers.
“Travel health has been an incredible experience for me. I love to go to work and I am offering people a service that they truly need. The best part is some are skeptical and only want the vaccines they have researched online, but when we sit down and do the consult, they are seeing the value in the service they are paying for.
“It can be done,” Lisa adds. “Some pharmacists working in a chain pharmacy environment feel they can’t provide something innovative in their store. Through the support of my pharmacy team and the management of Sobeys, I am thrilled to be offering a program that is showcasing my role as a certified travel health pharmacist.”