Community pharmacy in Australia: A health hub destination of the future

Sara S. McMillan, Amanda J. Wheeler, Adem Sav, Michelle A. King, Jennifer A. Whitty, Elizabeth Kendall, Fiona Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background
Rates of chronic illness are rising in Australia and as medications are frequently used in the management of a range of chronic conditions, community pharmacists are in an ideal position to better assist these consumers. There is currently limited information as to how pharmacy can do this from the perspective of consumer health organizations, health advocates and professional support organizations.
Objectives
To explore new roles, opportunities and any associated barriers for community pharmacy to better assist consumers with chronic illnesses.
Methods
Representatives of non-government consumer health organizations (n = 10) were interviewed from the key health priority areas emphasized by the Australian government. Health advocates (n = 3), innovative health care professionals (n = 4) and representatives of health care professional organizations (n = 4) from pharmacy and medicine also participated. Interviews were analyzed via thematic analysis.
Results
Twenty-one in-depth interviews were conducted. The core finding was the potential for community pharmacies to become a health hub destination, whereby pharmacy staff assist consumers with chronic conditions to: navigate the health system (e.g., provide information on support services), manage their medications, and provide health advocacy. Participants expressed their concern that consumers may not be aware of the breadth of the pharmacist's expertise and that further collaboration is needed with non-government consumer health organizations and other health providers. Emphasis was placed on the improvement of the pharmacist's current role, particularly in the area of medication advice and accessibility, with the current pharmacy remuneration model identified as a barrier to becoming a health hub destination.
Conclusion
The eventual progression toward a health hub destination was seen to be important to better assist consumers with chronic conditions. This focuses on a more proactive approach to care encompassing simple advice, referrals to consumer health organizations and ultimately, health advocacy. However, further research is required into how community pharmacy can become a health hub given that this is a new concept and there are existing professional barriers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)863-875
Number of pages13
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Volume9
Issue number6
Early online date4 Dec 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

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