Community pharmacy in Australia: A health hub destination of the future
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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.
Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
© 2012 Elsevier Inc. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice