Supporting Innovation in Pharmacy for a Healthier Canada

Promising results in Nova Scotia

Facilitator Glenn Rodrigues, left, with Wave 1 participants Patricia Staples and Andrew Buffett of Guardian Timberlea Pharmacy (photo reprinted from CFP's 2019 Changing Face of Pharmacy report)

MARCH 2021 - The results of two phases of Nova Scotia’s Prescription to Thrive (Rx to Thrive) study prove that changing the community pharmacy model can have a lasting and positive impact on pharmacy services, revenue and staff satisfaction.

Spearheaded by the Nova Scotia Pharmacy Association (PANS) in 2018—and funded by the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy and other stakeholders—the study set out to develop a model for practice-centred change in the community pharmacy.

The recently released Final Evaluation Report for Prescription to Thrive Wave 1 and 2, proves the model is working—and then some.

Glen Rodrigues, one of the original program facilitators, points to a significant increase in the number of non-dispensing services provided in pharmacies enrolled in Rx to Thrive in the last 12 months (prior to COVID-19) compared to the 12 months before the project began. The largest areas of growth were in health management programs (up 2,821%), medication reviews (774%) and prescribing (619%).

Revenues from non-dispensing services also increased by a whopping 191%, with diversification in revenue streams. While flu shots and continuing care prescriptions decreased, for example, other services like Advanced Medication Reviews for seniors and the Bloom Program (targeting mental health and addiction support in the community) grew. “These are all complex services addressing a community health need,” says Rodrigues.

All participating pharmacies reported making changes to make daily work more efficient and improve the pharmacy workflow. Pharmacy team members (pharmacists, assistants and pharmacy technicians) had also increased their clinical skill, knowledge and their confidence in being able to offer and provide non-dispensing pharmacy services.

Rodrigues is now working with 15 new pharmacies over an 18-month period in Wave 3 of the program, which will focus on further expanding key areas of the study that were most effective by leveraging technology platforms such as Zoom education sessions and remote support. “Delivery has to be modified because there are so many pharmacies over so many sites throughout Nova Scotia, but given the lessons of the first two phases, I have a better feel for the types of interventions we can make,” he says.

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