Clinical, Doctor, Locum Passport, Nurse, Opinion piece, Pharmacist

The changing face of community healthcare

Is change needed in the community sector?

In this blog we look at the impacts of a changing population on how community health services are provided. We also talk to Saam Ali, founder of Pharmacy Mentor to hear his thoughts on staying relevant in the changing times ahead.

Over the last 5 years, community healthcare has had a tricky time. With the rise of innovative solutions such as online pharmacies and online GP’s, to name a few, traditional healthcare outlets such as GP surgeries and pharmacies have had a tough of finding their perfect role.

In the tech sphere, the key roles of a business are known as their core competencies and recently we have seen the likes of Google, Amazon and so forth use their core competencies in data, analytics and logistics to bring disruption to the healthcare field and to our roles as healthcare professionals. The core competencies of community health care providers are obvious - high-level medical care on a local level. You can walk into your local pharmacy and get advice from a qualified pharmacist who will be able to best direct you to the care or treatment you need. Similarly, GP practices also offer the same face to face care that patients have come to value and trust through years of valuable service provision. 

There are two things that are showing ominous signs of being the proverbial spanner in the works; the changing demographics and characteristics of service users and secondly, the increasing perceived value of convenience to the same service users. 

Community Pharmacies and GP surgeries will always offer an unparalleled service to local users through their links to their local population, but in many respects so did high street retailers - and we know about how much that sector has suffered in recent times. This is a reflection of the changing views of our patients. Technology has changed every single aspect of our modern lives and we can't seriously think that healthcare wouldn't experience the same disruption that has been seen in the financial and retail markets. The reason for this disruption hasn't been because people have been in awe of the hundreds or even thousands of lines of coding behind the technology, it’s because of how that technology has empowered people to do more with their time and access services on demand.

Ready for more news like this?

Join the newsletter today to be kept in the loop about when we release a new blog post.

As healthcare professionals, we see the value of going into a pharmacy or a GP practice but it could be argued that patients and the public value the convenience of online services more than a face to face consultation. We are all subject to this, using Amazon Prime or Asos premier instead of visiting our local shops. The characteristics of the population are changing, which will impact how we provide our services. 

This leaves many professionals who either work in or, own community health services with a dilemma, to educate the population of the benefits of using traditional outlets or to listen to the needs of the population and work on delivering a valuable service that could be a far cry away from whats currently on offer.

This will depend on the population you serve and the long-term goals of your business. Saam Ali, Pharmacy Mentor, is a great resource to plug in to, who can help you understand where the core competencies of your business are and how you can effectively leverage them. As with any business, the heart of your business relies on resonating with your audience. As changes sweep through the NHS reimbursement program for pharmacies, community pharmacies need to focus on their private health services and incorporate these into their core competencies. Saam says “we can't control the prices set by the government. What we can control, however, is the process of the private pharmacy services we can provide such as flu jabs, travel clinics or any privately sold medication. Social media is an excellent tool to help you promote these and the ROI can be excellent.”