Pharmacies are also feeling confident about shifting more towards ePrescriptions as an alternative to paper, as patients increasingly expect digital services to manage their medicines and repeats.
Albert Naffah, Chief Executive Office of CommBank Health, said the key drivers of optimism highlighted in the report were the expansion of professional services, the creation of new revenue streams, better buying powers, population growth and changes in business models.
Almost half of decision-makers expect the value of community pharmacies to grow in the coming year, up from 37.1% in 2020. Pharmacists’ three-year business forecasts are also overwhelmingly confident with 57.1% expecting an increase in value.
“This has driven innovation in operations and business models including offering new services, exploring new roles and an increase in digital channels,” Mr Naffah said.
“Digitisation creates tremendous opportunities to better connect the patient journey. Greater awareness of and access to ePrescriptions is a key enabler of this.
“While paper and fax options for prescriptions remains prominent, most pharmacists are positioning for a continued uptake in ePrescriptions among patients and healthcare professionals.”
Mr Naffah said the shift towards digital channels is on the rise with home delivery, click and collect and mobile apps featuring as the top three sales channels pharmacists intend to introduce in the next 12 months.
The continued rise of ePrescriptions and usage of the Active Script List would drive further efficiencies between providers and enhance the experience for patients.
“Pharmacies have adapted well to the digitisation of products, services and operations including opening up new online sales channels and improving the omni-channel patient experience,” Mr Naffah said.
Community pharmacies are now looking towards the next phase of digital opportunities and strengthening their protections against cyber risks. Around 44% of pharmacists said they feel moderately or fully prepared to manage the risk of a cybersecurity incident.
“As community pharmacists leverage the benefits of digital technology, they are also being careful to deploy optimum security systems to safely protect their patient’s data privacy and guard against the threat of cybersecurity incidents.”
Now in its tenth year, the CommBank Pharmacy Insights Report 2022 report is the most comprehensive research available, tracking the confidence, perceptions and attitudes of pharmacy owners and employees in the Australian community pharmacy industry.
- 49% of pharmacists forecast the value of their pharmacy to increase in the next 12 months and a further 57% expect growth in the next three years;
- 51% of pharmacists said they were adapting to technology enhancements quite well while just 10% said they were adapting extremely well;
- 73% plan to introduce an email option for receiving prescriptions in the next 12 months while 64% plan to introduce a mobile app and Active Script List.
- 43% reported a pay increase in the year to October 2021, up from 30% in 2020.
- Although half of pharmacists reported no change in remuneration, this is down from 61% in 2020.
- More than 60% of pharmacies worked with healthcare providers in their communities in 2021, including general practitioners (43%), local Primary Health Networks (PHN) (21%) and aged care facilities (32%).
- Almost as many pharmacies now offer home delivery (85%) as in-store purchasing (89%), and nearly half (46%) now use mobile apps as a sales channel.
Read the CommBank Pharmacy Insights Report 2022.
About the Report
The CommBank Pharmacy Insights Report 2022 is produced in association with the University of Technology Sydney and global health information technology and clinical research company IQVIA.