Patients are highly satisfied with the service they receive from pharmacies and some 50 per cent use a single pharmacy for most health needs.
These are the findings from the initial report from Orima Research which is helping inform the Community Pharmacy 2025 (CP2025) project to determine what Australian community pharmacies will look like in 2025 and beyond.
A key finding of the report was 50 per cent of people surveyed said they used a single pharmacy for dispensed medicines, over-the-counter medicines, front-of-house products and services.
An additional 15 per cent used multiple pharmacies but only one pharmacy within a category. Some 25 per cent used multiple pharmacies within categories.
For dispensed medicines specifically, 62 per cent of patients reported using one pharmacy only in the last 12 months.
“Although this suggests a high degree of pharmacy loyalty within the general population, for many, this loyalty is superficial and vulnerable because it is based primarily on convenience rather than service relationships,” the research group concluded.
In terms of patient preferences, major themes to emerge included:
Strong support for any ideas which suggested greater physical integration of pharmacy with other allied health providers and services (e.g. co-location).
Strong relative support for concepts related to holistic health care and expanded health services. According to community pharmacy owner estimates, services have the highest gross profit margin (compared to dispensed medicines) but represent only 4 per cent of gross revenue at this time. However, support was relatively moderate regarding pharmacies playing a greater role sharing patient records.
Patients expressed the least interest in expanding the product range in pharmacies to non-health products.
Some dislike of/resistance to the notion of deregulating who may sell prescription medicines (e.g. supermarkets, large corporates and online vendors). Although patients’ understanding of the detail or implications of regulation was limited in focus groups, high levels of regulation were valued because they were perceived to lead to higher quality ethical healthcare. This is balanced against the greater convenience or cost savings that greater drug access may involve
A special session will be held at APP2018 on Sunday 6 May 2018 to report on the CP2025 project and its findings.