AUTHOR: Margie Peat, Managing Director of HealthSoft, creators of RxOne pharmacy software, and passionate advocate for pharmacists and an “impatient”.
I’ve not been comfortable with the term “patient” being not that way inclined when waiting for medical services. I’m a believer in making it easy for consumers to take responsibility for their own wellness.
There has been another interesting stoush this week between pharmacists and GPs due to Sigma Healthcare’s introduction of pathology services through their Amcal pharmacies. As with the ‘flu vaccine, GPs feel pharmacists are stepping on their patch. Sonic Healthcare who had worked to develop this program with Amcal has now withdrawn their services from the pharmacy area.
I applaud and congratulate Amcal for their initiative in introducing this program from both a pharmacist and consumer perspective.
Software has allowed business models to be redefined e.g. accountants no longer deal in the minutiae of adding up columns of figures but instead use their skills to advise clients after analysing data enriched by the likes of Xero.
The pharmacist, the health professional consumers trust and see most often, has upskilled in many other specialist areas (e.g. diabetes, asthma, wound healing) and has the required competencies to refer onto other health professionals when required. Pathological testing is a screening program not a diagnostic test which is the realm of the GP. Already the GP’s nurse does routine blood pressure checks, blood glucose tests and cervical smears to free the GP to do what they do best. Why shouldn’t pharmacists?
Many pathological tests are available free on the PBS from a GP but there are a large number of consumers who are happy to pay for ready access to these and to other health and wellness services. This may also relieve waiting times for GPs and the wide range of health services that ‘consumers’ prefer to access through them..
Charles Handy, prolific Irish writer and philosopher, once wrote something along the lines of each occupation’s aim is to do itself out of its job. That leads onto a redefinition of roles. To continue the accountant theme, they upskilled themselves out if their traditional role to further enhance advisory services.
Smart technology is becoming more readily available and enables consumers to monitor a range of health markers and, while they may not be perfectly accurate, they enable us to keep an eye on our health data trends.
I heard a GP speak at a conference a couple of years ago. He commented that he was terrified to allow patients access to email him. His fears were unfounded and he says in fact that this has improved his relationship with his patients.
Consumers will increasingly take charge of how their health is managed and Amcal’s initiative is a move in the right direction.