Re-engineering community pharmacy: a view of the future

At a time of year when many of us think about the future, our CEO and founder Daniel Lee has been reimagining the way community pharmacy could evolve (in the not too distant future).

It was 30 years ago, fresh out of university, that Daniel joined his family’s independent community pharmacy business and began thinking about how community pharmacy of the future could look. Feeling trapped in the dispensary, he knew there must be a way pharmacists could focus more time on their clinical services role.

Leaving community pharmacy after a few years and founding the UK’s first online pharmacy, Daniel has since spent most of his career re-engineering pharmacy processes in the UK and has now returned to his roots with the development of a hub and spoke model for independents.

With upcoming legislation changes set to make access to hub technology a reality for independent pharmacy owners (no longer just the big multiples), Daniel has shared his vision for the opportunity this could bring. Independents could reorganise their premises, clear huge spaces currently taken up by inefficient dispensing areas and make way for a modern technology-supported clinical environment.

In his recent article for Independent Community Pharmacist magazine, Daniel described how this could evolve in the future. As well as automatic body scanners, prescription collection technology and more space for consultation areas, he also foresees a smart reception desk where clinical pharmacy support staff use screens to help customers choose products delivered by a robot-operated chute. Meanwhile, pharmacists are front of house, using their knowledge to help patients, run clinics, take referrals from GPs, as well as private consultations.

Daniel said: “A lot has changed over the past two decades, in many cases for the better – but there are the same recurring themes. If independents were in any doubt about the need to change direction, the NHS long term plan and community pharmacy contractual framework provide clarity. Independents can no longer depend solely on dispensing income. The CPCF lays out how their clinical skills can be used in urgent care, minor ailment consultations, new medicine reviews, health prevention and so on.

 “Hub and spoke for independents means seamless integration between PMR technology providers and a state-of-the-art automated pharmacy facility providing an outsourced assembling service at the highest levels of accuracy and low cost. Critically, it will pass on all purchase margin benefits to partner pharmacies.”

You can read Daniel’s article here