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Australian Journal of Pharmacy : October 2006
guild HE Pharmacy Guild of Australia is working on the development of a comprehensive national pharmacy data- base, which we feel will be the most valu- able information resource the pharmacy sector has ever seen. It will be facilitated by a world class IT database developed as part of the highly acclaimed epothe- cary/Project Stop system. It will, there- fore, go beyond a traditional ‘database’ to also include elements such as new communications vehicle, GPS coding of pharmacies and web based. The national database will assist the Pharmacy Guild of Australia when work- ing with governments to create better health outcomes for patients, and also help consumers by providing them improved access to information on our industry. To gather the required information to populate the database, the Guild will soon be conducting the 2006 Community Pharmacy Census. Our goal is to create a comprehensive picture of community pharmacy in Aus- tralia, including information on Guild and non-Guild member pharmacies alike. We hope to gather as much information as possible, ranging from the specific pro- fessional services offered by individual pharmacies, through to something as sim- ple as opening hours. This will be an unprecedented source of information for consumers and industry, and will benefit every participating business. Other data collected from certain spec- ified sections of the census will be de-iden- tified and aggregated, allowing the Guild to make better prepared submissions to government and other agencies in addi- tion to research projects. Furthermore, the comprehensive con- tact information collected will ensure bet- ter communications within our pharmacy sector, including an efficient way to pro- vide information to every community pharmacy in Australia quickly. This will be particularly valuable in cases where we from the president Pharmacy Guild of Australia president Kos Sclavos Census to improve accessibility T need to communicate clearly and effec- tively, such as during a product recall. This is an ambitious undertaking, so to ensure that this new national database is as effective as the Guild hopes, we need the support of every single pharmacy in Australia. This is not an exercise that will be successful if only half done, as the value of this resource will hinge on its compre- hensiveness and ability to provide a com- plete picture of community pharmacy in Australia. Fortunately, there are many good rea- sons why every pharmacy in Australia will want to participate, as there are many long-term benefits. This will be an unprecedented source of information for consumers and industry, and will benefit every participating business Completing the census will only take an average of between 15 and 20 minutes. For that small investment of time and effort, every link in the healthcare chain— from governments through to con- sumers—will benefit greatly, including the individual pharmacies that provide their information. Specifically, the Guild anticipates that the extra information accessible for con- sumers and health groups—as a result of the census—and the establishment of the database will lead to an increase in traffic through community pharmacies’ doors. While the initial effort to participate in the census might seem significant, it will actually result in a reduction of the amount of information the Guild will seek 14 ? THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY VOL.87 OCTOBER 2006 from members for a period of time. This is because we will collect a large amount of information in one hit, so there will be no need to send out the usual number of surveys and other time-consuming mate- rials that arrive at your pharmacy from time to time. Participating in the census makes good business sense. The census will be pilot tested with a number of pharmacies in the ACT and Tasmania in early October. Both the Tasmanian and ACT branches are closely involved in the process of selecting phar- macies to reflect an appropriate cross-sec- tion of pharmacies. After this, the final census document will be sent out in mid-October. I urge all pharmacies to keep and eye out for this document and attend to it as a priority. After a period of time the Guild will fol- low up to ensure 100 per cent participa- tion. I don’t believe there is a reason why a pharmacy would not like access to the benefits of this project. Conversely, if the census is not completed for a given phar- macy, many fields for that pharmacy will appear blank in the database and could give the false impression that certain ser- vices are not provided by that pharmacy. If you are an employee completing the census on behalf of the owners of the pharmacy, I recommend that you keep them informed and also retain a copy for your records. Once the database is set up pharmacies will be able to update their particulars as details change. The bottom line is, that in order to pop- ulate this new national database with up- to-date and reliable information, we need the census to be comprehensive and accu- rate. The need for such a census has grown in importance over the last few years, and we now ask for your assistance in securing the future of our industry. Thank you for your time and the valu- able contribution you will make to this important project. ¦