Building Organisation Flexibility to Promote the Implementation of Primary Care Service in Community Pharmacy

Project Details
Project ID: IIG-036
Type: Investigator Initiated
Status: Completed
Institution: University of Sydney
Chief Investigator: Professor Charlie Benrimoj

Project Summary

Community pharmacy is undergoing a transformation, evolving from its traditional product supply to a business incorporating professional pharmacy services. Various business models are emerging driven by market forces and owner decisions in the absence of a policy framework. The overall objective was to investigate areas which would build the capacity of community pharmacy to increase the rate of implementation of services using an organisational flexibility framework. Stage 1, using semi-structured interviews, found that pharmacies were exhibiting four types of organisational flexibility – steady state, operational, structural and strategic – in four business models: classic community pharmacy (n=8), retail destination pharmacy (n=5), health care solutions pharmacy (n=9) and networked pharmacy (n=8). Pharmacies using strategic flexibility were more successful in making the transition to a sustainable service focused business. Stage 2, a quantitative survey (n=395), found five key areas, embedded in three factors explaining 40-50% of the variance, relating to needs when implementing services: (a) planning (b) performance (c) service awareness (d) people and processes and (e) infrastructure. These results were used in Stage 3 to design the educational intervention. Participants (n=19) reported that the intervention offered knowledge and practical solutions in order to integrate services. A national trial could be designed to build and evaluate the capacity of community pharmacy to provide services. The trial could include five key steps: (1) pre-preparation (2) educational workshop attendance, (3) on-site support, and (4) a tool-kit and resource centre for infrastructure and information support and (5) program assessment. The level of change and capacity building required in community pharmacy is complex, and will require significant support and time to occur. Relevant policy initiatives are essential to encourage the momentum for change.