To stay afloat and remain relevant in a fast-changing world, community pharmacy will need to constantly innovate, observed innovative pharmacist Faheem Ahmed.
Speaking in the final session of the sixth annual Pharmacy Business Conference which was held online over two evenings on Sept 21 and 23, he said “innovation” — one of the two themes of the conference alongside integration — to him was about looking at the processes and thinking, “What can I do to move forward, to offer value to my customers?”
Ahmed said his Oxfordshire-based pharmacy, Ahmeys, offers a complete package to the patient. “We not only diagnose, manage and treat disease, we make a difference to people’s lives.”
His clinic offers full body health checks, blood tests as well as screening for and prevention of diseases like hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and the list goes on.
He added that all pharmacies can adopt this model and align with the vision of the NHS, which expects the pharmacists to play a greater role.
Ahmed opined that these innovative changes can uplift the business, benefit patients and substantially boost the pharmacist owner’s bottom line.
“So essentially, by coming up with new ideas, by constantly moving forward, reinventing yourself, you can unlock the true potential of our profession,” he added.
Ahmed gave four key tips for pharmacists to innovate and uplift their businesses.
The first tip is to plan properly, focusing on the workflow and its management.
He said: “It’s about making sure the plan you have in place is in line with your vision, and designed to your company aims and objectives. So you can achieve your goal.”
The second is ‘training’. It is important for pharmacists to constantly learn and develop, he said.
He added: “If you have a patient with too sensitive a certain number of symptoms, how do you differentiate between? How do you make sure the patient is safe? How do you diagnose and manage appropriately? That comes from learning.”
The third key point is focus on documentation and governance, which are vital for continuity of care.
His fourth advice is on changing the mindset to push forward and reinvent.
Ahmed said: “Don’t be scared of stepping out of your comfort zone. And don’t be scared of asking for help.”
He further added that marketing your business and services well using social media platforms, search engine optimization is another important aspect.
“The key thing is understanding marketing because whatever we are doing, none of this is new. I am sure there are other pharmacists who are doing this.
“So I think, it is fantastic to use social media, understanding how websites work, understanding about how search engine optimization, everything is important in setting up the services”
Taking a holistic approach and keeping these tips in consideration while setting up a service, pharmacists can unlock their potential and build a better world, Ahmed said.