Pharmacy U

What’s your new patient care model?


How do you fully embrace a patient care model and find innovative ways to implement and market patient care services?

By Claire Sowerbutt


The focus of the November Pharmacy U Vancouver panel discussion was the pharmacist’s role as it relates to patient care within the broader context of the healthcare system. A key part of enhancing the pharmacist’s role involves confidence- building in delivering healthcare to Canadians.

Here are some panel highlights:

Pharmacists are in a unique position to help patients navigate Canada’s fractured healthcare system. “You see them more often than their physician,” said Allan van Der Wee, Pfizer Canada’s General Manager, Global Established Pharma Business Unit. “The value you give them is a sustainable gift – you are building equity with your customer. You have that opportunity.”

Describing what the repositioning of pharmacy from its traditional role of dispensing to that of helping the patient access healthcare can look like, panel member Carlene Oleksyn, pharmacist-owner, Meridian Pharmacy, shared a recent experience from her clinic. Her goal is to assess each patient who is new to her business. With that in mind, a patient came in to her pharmacy with a high dose prescription for citalopram. She did an assessment, and it became apparent that the drug, which he had been taking for four months, was not working well. Over the next six months she titrated him off citalopram and changed his therapy to an alternative molecule.

“Within four weeks he saw an 80 per cent improvement – his words,” she said. “This was a major change, major value for the patient, and any pharmacist can do this,” she said. “From the business perspective, I have billed over $400 in expanded services such as care plans – not including prescriptions – and made a major change in this man’s quality of life. He subsequently brought over both his parents as customers.”

Jeff May, Director, Healthcare Operations, Target Canada, addressed ways to operationalize the new, patient-centred business model. First, recognize the opportunities: look for moments of care. “In every practice environment look for the return on investment model, as Carlene did,” he said. Secondly, take the overall value equation and advocate and show other pharmacies the way. “Share your secret sauce – to help elevate the industry,” he said. And three, look for different ways to communicate with patients using simple technologies such as Skype, a secure chat environment, or telepharmacy. “Look at how you can use technologies to break down the traditional model – to provide patient care in the home – not just the OTC pharmacy environment,” he said.