Pharmacy U

Pharmacists at Pharmacy U Vancouver grow from experience – here’s how


For Valerie Porter it was learning about effective documenting of patient interactions; for Bob Stadnyk it was recognizing the importance of patient drug adherence; and for Serge Blin it was a renewed commitment to travel health services and a chance to network with his peers.


By Talbot Boggs

Photography by Ken Yau and Brandon Gray

They were only three of 400 attendees at last year’s inaugural Pharmacy U Vancouver conference, which returns this year to the Vancouver Convention Centre on November 22.

“The session on travel health services really motivated us to focus on and build up this aspect of our business,” said Blin, owner/manager of two Pharmasave pharmacies in greater Vancouver. “Subsequent to the conference we have reorganized the stores, which are small at about 1,100 sq. ft., to include a private area where we can do travel-related injections, including shots for yellow fever. And I know of three other stores also in the Vancouver area that have done the same thing as a result of attending this conference.”

Stadnyk and three other pharmacists from his Coop pharmacy in Medicine Hat, AB attended the conference and went away with knowledge and skills they’ve been able to apply directly in their stores.

“Everybody got a lot out of it, particularly on the business side of running a pharmacy,” said Stadnyk. “I was really interested to learn how many patients are non-compliant with their medications and how big an opportunity there is to improve health outcomes, lower overall health care costs and build sustainable revenue simply by getting people to take and renew their prescriptions.  It’s something we’re focusing on now through reminder calls to our patients.”

Stadnyk also got a lot of useful information from sessions on how to use technology and store design and layout, and enjoyed the conference’s numerous networking opportunities. “I’m currently designing a new pharmacy in Medicine Hat and was really interested in learning more about robotics and how you can improve efficiency through good layout and workflow,” he said. “Just by reorganizing the dispensary you can eliminate a lot of steps, reduce time and improve efficiency. I’m always so busy working and running the business that I don’t have time to sit down and talk with other pharmacists about what they’re doing and the challenges they’re facing, so the networking time also was very valuable and rewarding. The timing of the conference was just perfect for me.”

Pharmacist Valerie Porter at Lidia’s Pharmacy in Edmonton enjoyed the opportunity to meet and talk with other professionals from across the west and other Canadian provinces, but was particularly impressed with sessions on ways to improve the effectiveness of patient assessments and optimize medication review services.

“They laid out a standard system for making assessments that was very helpful — a framework to find out what the problem is, possible solutions, conduct the assessment and then devise an action plan, “ Porter said. “I realized more than ever before that pharmacists don’t have to do everything themselves. They can hand off a lot to technicians such as data gathering and paperwork to optimize the whole process. And when it comes to medication reviews, if you properly identify the problem, you don’t always have to do a full assessment if time is an issue. You can optimize the use of your time and still maintain the level of service and patient outcomes.”

“It was a real opportunity to learn about the latest trends in the industry and get together with colleagues that you probably might never see anywhere else,” Blin added. “I was really interested in the display on a new non-invasive diabetic screening tool. It’s important to be at the forefront of developments in the industry, and the conference provided that.”

Pharmacy U Vancouver is right around the corner. Get all the details at