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Health Destination leads the world in pharmacy practice improvement

28 August 2016

Australia’s world-class, innovative Health Destination Pharmacy program has been honoured with a high-profile international Award for practice improvement, the peak national body for pharmacists the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) said today.

Accepted by PSA in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the evidence-based Health Destination program won the International Pharmaceutical Federation’s (FIP) inaugural Pharmacy Practice Improvement Programme Award for 2016.

The whole-of-business Health Destination program – proudly developed and designed in Australia – was rewarded for being a world-leader in overall pharmacy practice improvement, including for delivering effective healthcare services, improving business practices and increasing consumer engagement.

In accepting the Award at FIP’s Opening Ceremony, PSA National President Joe Demarte said it was a strong testament to the outstanding dedication, support and collaboration of everyone involved in bringing the Health Destination program to life over recent years.

““It’s an incredibly exciting achievement and honour to have an Australian-made pharmacy change program recognised internationally by our peers as truly world-leading,” said Mr Demarte, who was joined at the ceremony by PSA leaders.

The Health Destination program is now in more than 25 pharmacies across Australia, empowering pharmacists to provide tailored, high-quality consumer healthcare in their local communities. Pharmacies that commenced the program last year are already outperforming industry average by more than three times.

Executive Director of Policy, Advocacy and Innovation Dr Alison Roberts – who has been instrumental in leading the program – said the Award highlighted that Health Destination had all the key elements proven to work to achieve better consumer engagement and a more viable business platform for pharmacies.

“Health Destination offers a whole new path forward for a sustainable community pharmacy sector, including working more collaboratively with other healthcare providers,” said Dr Roberts, who will also showcase the benefits of the program during an FIP congress presentation. “We’re proud of all the hard work that has led us to receive this Award – it’s been many, many years in the making.

“From a pilot to an internationally-acclaimed practice improvement program, this has truly been a special, collaborative journey and I acknowledge all the contributions of the many people involved including our industry partners. Pharmacies can have absolute confidence in this collaborative, evidence-based program, which has now received an international stamp of approval.”

PSA CEO Dr Lance Emerson – who has championed the program across the industry – said the global Award reinforced that Health Destination was the most effective change program for community pharmacies. Health Destination’s international success clearly shows that Australian pharmacies have backed the right program and right the direction for a viable community pharmacy sector,” Dr Emerson said.

“Australian community pharmacy owners now have an informed choice about seeking assistance to help improve their businesses. This program is all about enabling pharmacists to do what they do best and what we know consumers want from them – to be accessible to provide evidence-based advice and assistance on minor ailments and medication management.”

PSA leaders sincerely thanked the entire Health Destination team – which includes expert coaches and support staff – as well as the community pharmacies who have signed up to the program.

“It’s a true credit to these pharmacists and their teams being prepared to invest in and work hard on change and being supported by our expert coaches through this program,” Mr Demarte said. "We are delighted to see them getting the results. The Health Destination Pharmacy program supports community pharmacies to build a viable, value-adding business platform to ensure their sustainability into the future.”


Media contact: Brad Watts
Executive Director, Communications
0487 922 176

Health Destination 'pharmacies of the future' achieveing success

1 July 2016

An innovative, whole-of-business program transforming pharmacies into a local health destination is delivering effective healthcare services and improving consumer engagement, according to new independent analysis by the peak national body for pharmacists, the PSA.

The evidence-based Health Destination Pharmacy program has successfully repositioned pharmacists as local healthcare providers and empowered pharmacies to provide high-quality consumer healthcare in their local communities.

“The results from the Health Destination program, which is tailored to individual pharmacies and the communities they serve, highlights that pharmacies investing in the whole-of-business solution are delivering more consumer-focused care,” PSA Executive Director Policy, Advocacy and Innovation and Dr Alison Roberts said.

“Since the program began in October 2015, Health Destination pharmacies achieved a 6.4 per cent increase in average sale compared with the same period last year – well above the industry average of 1.8 per cent growth, the independent analysis showed.

Dr Roberts said the program contained all the key elements proven to work to achieve better consumer engagement with the added benefit of generating financial results for pharmacies.

“This program is all about enabling pharmacists to do what they do best and what we know consumers want – to be accessible to provide evidence-based advice and assistance on minor ailments and medication management. It’s no surprise that when they do this well, it’s also good for business,” Dr Roberts said.

“It’s very exciting for Health Destination pharmacies to see that in only six months, they’re already getting genuine results for local consumers and their businesses,” Dr Roberts said.

“These results reinforce that the program works, however we don’t always expect to see success so quickly – it’s a credit to the pharmacists and their teams working hard on change and being supported by our expert coaches through this program.”

“This is the ‘pharmacy of the future’ – as it’s about focussing on the local community needs and working collaboratively with other healthcare providers, particularly GPs. Pharmacists participating in the program are reporting positive feedback from GPs, consumers and local healthcare organisations.”

Dr Roberts said while many Australian pharmacies were experiencing revenue decline, Health Destination pharmacies were seeing improvements in business viability and sustainability.

PSA National President Joe Demarte said: “The latest Health Destination results speak for themselves – this unique program is informed and endorsed by multiple industry leading experts in each area of pharmacy change, bringing together the best of the best, in a tried and tested program.


Media contact: Brad Watts
Executive Director, Communications
0487 922 176

Health Destination Pharmacy launched during PSA roadshow

9 March 2016

A new, evidence-based program to reposition pharmacists as health care providers and pharmacies as a health destination in the community to provide high-quality healthcare has been launched as part of a successful national roadshow by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), Australia’s peak organisation for pharmacists.

The innovative Health Destination Pharmacy program provides everything a local pharmacy needs to increase their engagement with the community and better respond to and meet local health needs. The new program also offers consumers greater access to pharmacist care and a wide range of minor ailment and professional pharmacist services.

PSA Chief Executive Officer Dr Lance Emerson said the response from pharmacists during the national roadshow – which covered 17 capital city and regional locations over the past month – had been very positive about the Health Destination program.

“Overall, we have reached more than 1000 pharmacists and industry leaders during the roadshow events – this is an outstanding response from pharmacists who are committed to learning about new initiatives to reduce the burden on our health system and hear the latest industry updates,” Dr Emerson said.

“After engaging one-on-one with hundreds of pharmacists, there was a recurring theme of owners having invested in programs that promised to transform their pharmacy business but haven’t worked. A driving force for PSA bringing Health Destination to market is we don't want to see pharmacy owners wasting limited funds on programs without evidence any longer."

PSA Executive Director Policy Dr Alison Roberts said PSA had developed and extensively-tested the Health Destination Pharmacy model that supported pharmacists and pharmacy staff to provide high-quality consumer healthcare.

“We know from years of evidence and experience in successive Community Pharmacy Agreements that simply providing people with tools, even high quality tools, and leaving them to make changes alone doesn't work,” Dr Roberts said.

“The change process is more complex and a tailored, on-site coach is what has been proven to work. This is what sets Health Destination apart from other approaches.”

PSA National President Joe Demarte said the Health Destination Pharmacy program contained all of the key elements that are shown to work to achieve change and generate financial results for pharmacies.

“The program is informed and endorsed by multiple industry leading experts in each area of pharmacy practice, bringing together the best of the best, in a tried and tested program,” Mr Demarte said.

“The program is also tailored to individual pharmacies to provide health solution that meet local community needs.

“Importantly, the Health Destination Pharmacy program also provides a viable, value-adding business platform to ensure sustainability of pharmacies in the current and challenging economic environment.”

Media contact: Brad Watts
Executive Director, Communications
0487 922 176

PSA CEO Lance Emerson & Bruce Elliot discuss Health Destination in the Townsville Bulletin

February 19, 2016

TOWNSVILLE pharmacists may soon be able to manage the medication of diabetes and asthma sufferers to reduce the burden on the health system.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia hosted a free seminar last week as part of a national roadshow to update pharmacists on career opportunities and recent changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement.

The seminar at JCU outlined components of the “Health Destination program” and how it will benefit pharmacies, including the results from a national trial phase. It also included details on new ways pharmacists could work with doctors to improve patient health and increase community engagement.

PSA chief executive officer Dr Lance Emerson said Health Destination was a key strategy of the group’s vision.

Read the full story in the Townsville Bulletin

PSA unveils Health Destination Pharmacy (HDP) program

August 2, 2015

PSA's Health Destination Pharmacy (HDP) program, a coaching and development program to help pharmacies deliver financially viable health services, was unveiled today at PSA15.

PSA's HDP program is evidence-based with proven results, is backed by industry leaders, and is delivered by Australia's most experienced experts in pharmacy change.

National President of the PSA, Joe Demarte, said the program was a financially viable and sustainable change platform for pharmacies.

"Importantly, it is a key strategy of the PSA vision for excellence in pharmacist care," Mr Demarte said.

Mr Demarte said the HDP program assisted pharmacies to transition from reliance on a price-focused, discount model to a consumer-focused model - one that was adaptive to local community needs and demographics.

"It is a program that is evidence based, allowing pharmacies to experience high levels of patient loyalty, pharmacists' satisfaction, and financial sustainability less reliant on government funding," he said.

"HDP acknowledges that change is sometimes difficult, and our program uses a change model that is tried and tested to support pharmacies through the transition to a consumer-focused and financially sustainable practice.

"The program uses an intense coaching model underpinned by evidence, targeting strategies in areas such as business and financial planning, people and processes, marketing, layout, and infrastructure.

"PSA is in a unique position to deliver this coaching expertise and network, whilst working with experts in implementation, business processes and financial management. HDP is the complete solution for pharmacies to support health-focussed changes to their pharmacies. It provides the foundation for professional and financial success.

"It is informed, endorsed, and supported by the leading experts in pharmacy business practices. It brings together the best of the best," Mr Demarte said.

To progress the implementation phase, PSA has teamed-up with those organisations with a shared interest in excellence in pharmacists' care and wish to see a more viable community pharmacy sector. This partnership is unprecedented and reflects the confidence the industry has in the project and its outcomes. The partners are Pfizer Australia, Bayer, Reckitt Benckiser (RB), Johnson & Johnson, Blackmores, Willach Australia, NAB Health and Danone Nutricia. Representatives of these companies are members of the advisory group that also includes experts Professor Charlie Benrimoj from the University of Technology Sydney, Bruce Annabel from JR Pharmacy Services and Glenn Guilfoyle from The Next Level.

Health Destination gathers momentum

By Grant Kardachi, FPS, outgoing national president - July 2015

The growing focus on consumer self care, coupled with improved pharmacist-consumer engagement, has resulted in increased momentum for PSA's Health Destination Pharmacy (HDP) initiative as it moves into the next phase of its implementation.

This implementation is supported by an advisory group of industry and professional representatives which is now meeting regularly to progress the initiative.

HDP aims to help pharmacies change their practice and business models to reposition pharmacy as a health destination in the community, and for the pharmacist to act as a health solution provider. HDP features a non-dispensing pharmacist helping with the provision of an evidence-based minor ailment and professional pharmacy services.

The initiative evolved from the need to reposition community pharmacy and to ensure ongoing viability for the sector while transitioning to meet the changing health needs of consumers.

HDP uses coaches to help implement a change in the pharmacy culture. Australian research showed community pharmacies could benefit from coaching to provide targeted, on-site support to help them prepare for change and to integrate new professional programs and services. Targeted education and practical assistance in developing viable business models was seen as being able to help improve the capacity of community pharmacy to make the transition to a health-focused business.

In 2011-13, PSA conducted a pilot to investigate the concept. Some 14 pharmacies were chosen to represent a range of pharmacy types across geographic location, size, brand affiliation, prescription numbers, employment characteristics of pharmacists and other staff, and demographic traits.

The pilot demonstrated proof of the concept and showed pharmacies can adopt a changed model of practice in which the pharmacist is repositioned as a health solution provider and the pharmacy as a healthcare destination.

In the pilot, the coach helped pharmacies increase health-related sales, improve overall profitability and be more competitive through non-price focused strategies.

This was achieved by having more engagement between pharmacists and consumers, targeting health promotions and professional services which meet the needs of the local community, implementing and/or increasing delivery of professional pharmacy programs and services, and improving communication and relationships with local GPs and health professionals.

Following the pilot, PSA has joined with a range of stakeholders in an unprecedented partnership that reflects the confidence the industry has in the initiative.

The move into the implementation stage of the project is significant for the profession.

The project provides a tailored, evidence-based practice change platform for pharmacy to help deliver a sustainable, reinvigorated model of healthcare to the Australian community which gives consumers a unique pharmacy and healthcare experience.

The partnership will see the PSA working with industry leaders who are passionate about pharmacies as sources of health advice and service in the community. This approach is a key initiative in sustainability for the industry.

HDP provides something other programs don't - the foundation for competitive and financial success through a change in culture by transitioning practice models from a supply/transaction focus to a pharmacist engagement focus. This allows a pharmacy to successfully implement existing initiatives while also being better prepared for new programs as they arise.

PSA's HDP program has the following key points of difference:

  • Evidence-based with tested results.
  • PSA's past experience in delivering change programs, onsite support and high-quality practice support resources and training - PSA is the expert in pharmacy practice.
  • Informed, endorsed, and supported by the leading experts in pharmacy business practices. It brings together the best of the best.
  • Ability to support existing initiatives.
  • Tailored to the individual needs of the pharmacy and its local community.

PSA is delighted to be working with our partners who believe that we can build a brighter future for pharmacy, and give consumers better options for managing their health.

Report urging greater emphasis on self care welcomed by pharmacists

June 24, 2015

Calls for greater integration of self care into the national health policy have been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

National President of the PSA, Grant Kardachi, said the report, Towards Responsible Self Care: The role of health literacy, pharmacy and non-prescription medicines specifically recommended that pharmacies should play a greater role in delivering primary health care, promoting health literacy and supporting responsible self care.

"This principle is totally supported by the PSA and is embedded in much of the work the Society undertakes," Mr Kardachi said.

"In addition we are now moving into the implementation phase of our Health Destination Pharmacy model which is designed to build greater interaction and communication between pharmacists and consumers to increase health outcomes.

"The Towards Responsible Self Care report says greater investment is required in preparing the pharmacy to conduct private discussions with consumers, ensuring adequate staffing levels, training and professional development of staff and continually reviewing and assessing its services for quality improvement.

"These are features of the Health Destination Pharmacy model.

"A key component of the Health Destination Pharmacy is the presence of a non-dispensing pharmacist assisting with the provision of a range of evidence-based minor ailment and professional pharmacy services.

"The Health Destination Pharmacy evolved from the need to reposition community pharmacy and transition it to meet the changing health needs of consumers with pharmacies as health destinations and pharmacists as clinicians."

Mr Kardachi said the Towards Responsible Self Care report noted 'pharmacy first' policy for short-term self-limiting ailments would free GP and hospital resources to concentrate on more serious cases.

"Pharmacists are the most accessible of all health professionals and often the first point of contact a consumer has in regard to discussing an issue with a health professional," Mr Kardachi said.

"Further utilising our skills and knowledge in delivering primary health care makes good sense for consumers and for the viability and sustainability of the health system in this country."

Mr Kardachi said health literacy concerns were raised in the report and this was an area that needed to be improved in the community.

"Pharmacists need to continually upskill their health literacy to ensure that knowledge and information is communicated effectively during interactions with consumers," Mr Kardachi said.

UTS survey shows support for greater focus on pharmacist professional services

November 2, 2014

The pharmacy profession remains pessimistic about its future, but sees opportunities for a greater focus on professional services in the next Community Pharmacy Agreement, according to the latest UTS Pharmacy Barometer.

The barometer, on which a score of 100 represents neutral confidence, showed that in October 2013 after a year of price disclosures, the confidence sat at 61.2, down from 86 in November 2012. The figure has risen slightly to 68.9 this year.

Chief Executive Officer of PSA, Dr Lance Emerson, said the barometer showed support for increased Community Pharmacy Agreement (CPA) funds to be committed to professional pharmacist services.

"This view is aligned with the PSA 6CPA paper released recently, which calls for a greater focus on the provision of professional services," Dr Emerson said.

"Significantly, the barometer also found 75 per cent of respondents saw professional pharmacist services as the greatest future opportunity. The problem is there has been a decline in federal government funding for them, from 4.9% (4CPA), to 4.1% in the current CP.

"The PSA 6CPA member discussion paper calls for much stronger focus and funding for professional pharmacist services - this is supported by our 18,000 members and affirmed in the UTS survey.

"The UTS report also shows that two-thirds of pharmacists supported a variable dispensing fee based on the amount of patient interaction.

"This supports PSA's discussion paper which proposes a variable fee based on patient interaction. Dispensing should be seen as a part of continuum of pharmacist services, with remuneration based on the time pharmacists spend with the patient," Dr Emerson said.

However, Dr Emerson said that he was deeply concerned that two-thirds of owners, managers and pharmacists-in-charge intended to replace lost revenue by cutting staff costs.

"There is a better option, and PSA's Heath Destination Pharmacy model, to be released soon, offers a solution that includes a non-dispensing pharmacist in the pharmacy," he said.

The pilot of this program shows this model met consumer's needs but also resulted in significantly increased profits, mainly through non-government funds. The model relies entirely on professional pharmacist input, with the staff and business system focus on health and minor ailment services.

"So rather than reduce staff numbers, the Heath Destination Pharmacy model helps re-focus them. I would encourage pharmacists to register interest for the next stage of Health Destination Pharmacy to ensure a more financially sustainable, health focused consumer service," Dr Emerson said.