Euna Hwang has always wanted to have a positive influence on the world of pharmacy. Her grandmother was the first female, registered pharmacist in South Korea, and now she is quickly making waves in her new home after moving from New Zealand one year ago.
We need to think about a patient-centric workforce model, and move away from dispensary based supply functions.SERH chief pharmacist Euna Hwang
The South East Regional Hospital's chief pharmacist was recently judged to have the best idea pitch at both the 8th NSW Rural Health and Research Congress, and the 2019 Pharmacy Research Symposium in Brisbane.
Ms Hwang's presentation, titled Waves of Change in Rural Pharmacy Workforce - Are you riding the wave of change?, focused on the difficulties in recruiting and retaining rural clinical pharmacists, and involved trialling the use of pharmacy technicians alongside clinicians.
The technicians knowledge of patient medication histories was then used to reduce the chances of errors being made.
"I always wanted to change the whole pharmacy profession. And having clinical pharmacy leading the change can really help the community," she said.
Ms Hwang said even NSW Health has shown an interest in the project, and with the state having some of the lowest pharmacist to patient ratios in the nation, she said she's not surprised.
As part of the trial, the technicians were trained to perform tasks including identifying new patients and conducting medication history interviews.
Ms Hwang said the fact her presentation came from the perspective of a regional hospital with limited funding forced her to "think outside the box", making it stand out from the rest.
"We need to think about a patient-centric workforce model, and move away from dispensary based supply functions," she said.
"We need to effectively harness the pharmacy technician workforce to support advancing hospital pharmacy services."
She said the results of the trial, and a survey of almost 1500 patients and stakeholders between February and June this year, speak for themselves, with a high proportion of patients and doctors feeling the trial improved pharmacy services overall.