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The Future of Pharmacy

There is no doubt that new technologies are about to cause sweeping changes to the way work is done worldwide – with futurists predicting that up to 30% of current jobs could be replaced in the next 10 years.

Pharmacies in New Zealand are going to be affected by this workplace revolution. There are big changes coming in the form of e-prescribing, the national health database and increasing automation of the dispensing process.

While it is always difficult for the people who are immersed in the current business model to imagine what the next big thing will be, one way to future-proof your pharmacy is to remain open to change. There are new ways of doing things that are available now, and are well within reach of all pharmacies.

In order to be prepared to try new things, you need to use your imagination to see into the future. Once you have a vision of how your business will operate in future – it is easier to begin to take steps to start the change process.

Here are some new ways of thinking about the future of your pharmacy:

The past 25 years has seen a steady increase in the number of pharmacies that are part of health centres – but for the most part pharmacies are still interacting with customers in the same way, and being paid to provide the same services. Most pharmacists spend most of their time behind the dispensary counter in a technical dispensing role, filling prescriptions that have been brought to them by “walk-in” customers.

In the next 25 years pharmacy will be disrupted by changes to the communication, fulfillment and supply of prescriptions – just like industries such as banking, post, travel and accommodation already have been.

I predict that this will lead to a consolidation in pharmacy numbers and a corresponding need for pharmacies to move more into the provision of health services to an enrolled customer base. Future success will come to those who start thinking now about the right locations, staff, services and systems to start delivering this new model.


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