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Embracing the change at Pharmacy U Toronto
Think. Do. Say.

by Jane Auster

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Marketing, branding and creativity guru Ron Tite’s provocative opening session at the ninth annual Pharmacy U Toronto – Think. Do. Say. – posed this dilemma:
“In today’s dynamic pharmacy environment, growth isn’t going to come from the same services delivered in the same way with the same mindset. No. Disruption is coming from all angles, and the modern pharmacy has to aggressively disrupt itself before someone else does it first.

But here’s the problem: Organizations don’t change. People do.”

Are you one of those people?
How does a leader think, do, and say while at the same time delivering service in the most efficient way? asked Ron Tite.

#1 Choose purpose over profit and connect with everyone you deal with – employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders and community – like they are the only person in the world at that moment.

“Either you or your people have a genuine desire to connect with the people who come into your pharmacy or you don’t…and you have to operationalize it (that connection).”
How do you become irreplaceable in the eyes of your patients in a world in which Amazon Pharmacy (arguably the biggest potential disrupter) is coming and offering faster and cheaper service delivered straight to your patients’ door?
“The real disrupters,” said Tite, “are the ones who are solving the problems the establishment can’t or won’t. It is not a problem until somebody solves it.
“Exceeding benchmarks is the new benchmark!” he said, as he told a personal story of his experience with Westin Hotels, Vancouver, where the benchmark was definitely exceeded.
How can Canadian pharmacists empower themselves for change – and major disruption? That question resonated throughout the day as a sold-out crowd of pharmacists from across the country listened, learned and engaged with presenters, challenging them to do better and be better for their patients – and their businesses.

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Panel: If you’re not at the table, you’re probably on the menu

This lunchtime panel left the Pharmacy U audience hungry for more.
Moderated by AdhereRx’s Jim Danahy, the panel challenged every pharmacist in the room to become a leader.

“More pharmacists have to step up to be leaders, said Carlene Oleksyn. “Engage government. Meet with them and document those meetings.
“If you have the leadership, you can make changes. We do things differently so a pharmacist coming (to work with) us has to learn a completely different philosophy. I hire for care! You have to talk to the patients. When they (pharmacists) get into that culture, they say ‘oh my god!'” They are empowered to make decisions and become leaders.

Jamie Kellar, professor at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, is not convinced that pharmacists don’t want to be leaders, but she pointed to other healthcare professionals (such as physicians) who lead themselves rather than be led by others.
She also challenged the audience to consider the importance of language in the pharmacy profession. “A lot of industries are undergoing disruption,” she said. “What if ‘dispensing’ weren’t a dirty word? What if we are selling ourselves short?” Maybe it’s time for pharmacists to “own” their profession in a way they aren’t currently because of a natural tendency to be self-deprecating.

How can pharmacists find an unmet need in their communities? Many already are, said Billy Cheung, Executive Director, Pharmacy, Marketing & Professional Affairs at Pharmasave. “Get out of just thinking like a dispenser,” he advised, and consider other services, such as meds checks, which allow valuable face to face encounters with patients. “You can’t wait to make changes. You must take leadership at all levels.”

Whole Health Pharmacy Partners CEO Dean Miller offered that pharmacists have already made great strides in becoming healthcare leaders. The flu shot is just one example where pharmacists have stepped up to “own” that business and become the go-to providers, and are hugely successful. “Think like a CEO to make changes!”

Here are just a few other Pharmacy U Toronto highlights:

From poop talk to pep talk

What roles do probiotics play in managing GI? Pharmacist Dragana Skokovic-Sunjic helped to dispel the myths and provide sound guidelines for probiotic therapy in a highly entertaining session that did not shy away from talking about poop in all its forms.

Can I take this for pain?

Pharmacist and University of Waterloo clinical lecturer Nardine Nakhla advised the audience never to underestimate the power of listening to patients and trying to understand their pain experience. The patient experience is key to making successful treatment recommendations. Canadians spend millions on OTC pain relief products. There is a huge role for pharmacists to play to provide assessment, triage and care to improve patient outcomes.

Helping your patients quit smoking

The quit journey is one where pharmacists are uniquely qualified to help, said pharmacist Jane Ling, who is also President of Pharmacists for a Smoke Free Canada and CEASE (Central East Association for Smoking Elimination). She advocated using the 3 As (Ask Advise Act) to make a huge difference in patients’ health.

The opioid crisis

Donnie Edwards offered his firsthand, sometimes painful experience dealing with patients with addiction – and specifically opioid – issues. The co-owner of Boggio & Edwards IDA and Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo shared his insights into the use of naloxone as a recovery aid. “Naloxone should not only be talked about in a clinical setting,” he said. “We need to talk more about naloxone and opioids (in other settings) to remove the stigma. 390,000 naloxone kits have been distributed from 2016 to 2020. That sounds good, but it’s not enough.” Naloxone is the new EpiPen.

 

Are you ready to embrace YOUR change?

Visit www.pharmacyu.ca to learn about our upcoming conferences.


Treating opioid addiction patients with respect on their path to recovery

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The Respect Rx Pharmasave in Ottawa is not your ordinary community pharmacy. You won’t find a cosmetics section, home staples or many of the regular categories and products you’d find in many drugstores. There are small confection, OTC, vitamin and pain medication offerings, but the front shop is all behind the counter. Read more

Patients = family? How to treat your patients as more than just customers

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In more than 30 years as a pharmacist, Mark Gayowski has maintained one guiding principle regardless of how much or how quickly the industry of pharmacy changes – always treat your patients like family. Read more

Pharmacist Jim Kitagawa’s 3 top secrets of success

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Jim Kitagawa, owner of Pharmasave pharmacy in Brooks, AB, credits his success and that of his pharmacy to the opportunity to be independent and entrepreneurial within the Pharmasave network of pharmacies. Read more

Harbour South Pharmasave – small but mighty

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In a world and industry that increasingly seems to be embracing the concept that bigger is better, being small can have its advantages. Read more

Expanding your patient services

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By Talbot Boggs

 

Sometimes life presents opportunities you just can’t refuse. Cristina Privado wasn’t thinking of expanding Memorial Pharmasave in Orillia, Ont. until the store attached to the pharmacy closed. “When the landlord informed me that the space was available, it suddenly struck me that this was the opportunity of a lifetime,” Privado says. “I approached my two co-owners and said, ‘if we’re going to do this, it’s now or never.’”

With an immediate doubling of the store to 2,200 sq. ft., Privado and her team had some decisions to make about how best to use the space. The original store, which opened in 2012, was almost all dispensary with only about 300 sq. ft. of front shop. The new space gave her an ideal opportunity to turn Memorial into a health centre focused on offering health-related, educational and other services and products to her broad customer base – millennials at the local Lakehead University and Georgian College, seniors, young families, patients from Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital and two group homes, and customers from neighbouring communities.

Privado completely revamped the front shop by enlarging the OTC area, adding a home healthcare section, giftware, fashion accessories, and creating a section containing Melissa & Doug educational toys for the children of the growing number of young families in her trading area. “We do have a lot of young families and saw this as another opportunity,” Privado says. “So far the reviews have been great.”

She also took the availability of the additional space to significantly upgrade and expand her suite of services. She added a second private consultation room specifically to accommodate a new Ideal Protein weight loss and management program and also introduced a complementary line: Walden Farms specialty, calorie, fat, carbs, gluten and sugar free food products. 

“We introduced Ideal Protein in my other store in Angus and got a lot of traction with it there, and felt it also would be very attractive to the large group of health-conscious consumers in the 30-65 age group,” Privado says.

The addition of the new counselling room has opened up space for Privado to expand her services to encompass injections, medication reviews, smoking cessation, compression therapy, methadone management and medication synchronization programs. “We’re currently implementing synchronization for patients with five or more chronic medications,” Privado says. “Coordinating refills of multiple medications at one time improves adherence and is a great convenience and comfort that patients really appreciate.”

She encourages compliance packaging for her large number of patients in two local group homes and from neighbouring communities, and provides delivery, home visits and MedChecks, order refills on smartphones through a Pharmasave app (a very popular option among her younger patients), and a Pharmasave rewards program.

Privado estimates the front shop business has risen by about 150 per cent since the addition was completed in February last year and she is gaining traffic and new customers each week. She has had to add staff to take care of the expanded front shop and the growing Ideal Protein program, and ensures that when the Pharmacist/manager is not working, at least one of the owners is on duty for consistency of staffing and a high level of service at all times.

“This means that our patients will see at least one of us each week, eight times a month, which is really important to give them that feeling of consistency and confidence and to develop loyalty both among existing and new customers,” Privado says. “This expansion truly was an opportunity of a lifetime that we’re really glad we took.”

 

The Facts:

Opening date: Feb. 2016

Store size: 2,200 sq. ft.

Investment: $225,000 total investment in the original store and the addition.

Services: Ideal Protein Weight Loss, injections, medication reviews, smoking cessation, compression therapy, methadone management, medication synchronization, delivery, in-home visits and MedChecks, compliance packaging, smartphone order refills, rewards program.

Employees: 1 FT pharmacist/manager, 3 PT pharmacists/owners, 1 FT pharmacy assistant, 1 FT front shop manager/Ideal Protein consultant, 1 PT pharmacy assistant. 

Hours: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon – Fri; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat; closed Sundays and holidays


Innovator: Pharmacist Allan Rajesky built his business from the ground up

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Even as a young pharmacist starting his career, Allan Rajesky believed pharmacies need to provide more specialized services to their customers. Read more

Something special – Pharmacist Nazlin Khamis transformed Chilliwack Pharmasave

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Nazlin Khamis’s transformation of Chilliwack Pharmasave from a traditional community pharmacy into a specialty compounding, natural and home health destination has evolved over nearly three decades. Read more

Turning your pharmacy into a destination drugstore

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When opportunity knocks, Satnam Lalli answers. In the fall of 2013 this pharmacist/owner had the chance to take over 2,500 square feet of space in a busy shopping mall at the centre of a vibrant community in Victoria, B.C. and transform Pharmasave Broadmead into a full-fledged destination drugstore. Read more

The concerns and recommendations expressed in this letter are supported by the signed companies and organizations that represent over 1,560 independently owned and operated small business pharmacies across Ontario. Read more