Welcome to the December edition of i2P – Information to Pharmacists E-Magazine.
We have an interesting array of material for you to read and absorb, and we advise that our next edition will not appear until February 1st 2009.
We take advantage of the holiday break to rest and do maintenance on the website, also to plan new initiatives.
i2P hasa new writer, Mark Nuenschwander, who is a US expert on point-of-care systems, automation and barcodes. We are introducing this type of article at this time because Australian pharmacies will have to embark on an investment in IT systems and a high level of automation as a means of containing costs and remaining competitive.
Point-of-care does not have to take place in a hospital, it can occur in a clinical pharmacy setting and it can open the door to a new world of patient service.
Also, this month you will find an in-depth article on Nicola Roxon, our current Minister for Health & Ageing.
We have researched all the public information available and in future editions, we will see how her scorecard progresses. This is a slightly different departure for us, but the reason i2P emerged in the first place was to keep tabs on pharmacy leadership by providing critical input to influence pharmacy public opinion.
Now we are looking at the next level.
As a person, I have to admit Nicola Roxon impresses me with what she has achieved to the present date.
We must make sure that she is accurately informed on all pharmacy issues.
Whether she becomes a driver of primary care in a pharmacy environment, I will reserve judgement until later in 2009.
By nature Nicola Roxon is methodical and researches all sides of a debate before accepting it as policy. Pharmacy will have to work to gain acceptance, but so will all the other health professions.
My New Year’s wish is that she comes to learn the duality that exists in pharmacy (pharmacy owners/pharmacist service providers) and understands that a PBS type sausage machine facility will always compete for resources, particularly time, to the detriment of a clinical service.
Clinical services have to be created and provided “offline” so to speak.
While we are not rushing to change our mix of articles you will note that we are slightly changing our content to include areas other than pharmacy e.g. hospitals, and that our writing team is gaining an international flavour. Approximately 20 percent of i2P subscribers are offshore, mainly based in western economies. We intend to foster the growth of these subscribers.
Evident in the US is a massive increase in retail clinics.
These clinics service the same market that pharmacists have traditionally been involved in, but use nurses. Pharmacists need to claim back lost ground.
The only difference is the funding model for health services.
The US model allows for competition in primary health clinical services, while the Australian model virtually only allows for GP’s to be subsidised for provision of these services.
The climate is undoubtedly right for a change and a change that allows pharmacy a share of primary care subsidies will dramatically alter the primary health care landscape.
Steven Carbonara has a “tongue in cheek” article that puts forward an alternate proposal that illustrates some of the tension between pharmacists and GP's..
The article “Primary Care Clinics and Self-Care Environments” also explores a range of options.
Ken Stafford describes a Western Australian initiative where they have imported a prescribing pharmacist from the UK so they can get a head start for this activity in that state.
It’s all starting to happen.
Harvey Mackay and Barry Urquhart have some good management philosophy for those of you needing a management tune up.
Rollo Manning turned up a little late for this edition, but he managed to scrawl a note sharing what is happening at the Top End. Seems that he may be steering an aboriginal pharmacy as an essential component of indigenous health – and he would be one of the few people who could actually be called “expert” in this area.
We also welcome back Terry Irvine and Heather Pym and their pharmacy perspectives.
Also, all our regular contributors – Neil Retallick, David More, Loretta Marron, Garry Boyd, Chris Wright and Andrew Byrne.
I would sincerely like to thank all the subscribers that have interacted with i2P over the past year, and we hope to see more action in 2009.
My thanks also go out to our writing team who are scattered all over Australia (and now overseas) in varying settings and pursuing their vision of a creative and professionally rewarding pharmacy service.
May you all have a safe and peaceful festive season and come back in February 2009 to do battle with all the negative elements that seem to obstruct progress of our pharmacy professional pursuits.
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