Pharmacy Connect Convenor’s 12 ‘must attend’ sessions

Kos Sclavos AM
Pharmacy Connect Convenor

It’s that time of year again, when as Conference Convenor, I have been asked to select my top 12 ‘must attend’ session for the upcoming Pharmacy Connect conference.

2023 has seen some major challenges thrown at community pharmacy, none more so than 60-day dispensing. But while 60-day dispensing is a major concern for our industry, Pharmacy Connect is about ensuring we continue to explore new opportunities, and there is no bigger opportunity than pharmacist practising at full scope.

In addition to full scope content, other opportunities available to pharmacies will be explored which, given the threats we currently face, may become essential implementation in pharmacy.

The conference theme of ‘make every connection matter’ is woven through the program, and I urge all pharmacists to take this advice in order to prepare for the future.

A reminder to check the online conference program regularly at, as proposed 60-day dispensing measures mean we need to be flexible with programming to ensure the latest developments are covered adequately.

As always, picking just 12 program highlights is a near impossible task. Numerous sessions missed the cut, so I urge you to explore the full program and bookmark session preferences based on your professional development needs and interests.

Pharmacy Connect top 12 must-attend sessions (in conference date and time order):

1/ WORKSHOP 1: Ownership, operations and oversight – getting the pharmacy acquisition, day to day and management right (Thursday AM)

This is a repeat of the sold-out workshop hosted at APP2023. The Australasian College of Pharmacy and CommBank Health bring to pharmacy owners and potential owners an interactive workshop that will provide many skills, including utilising operational and financial data, setting and managing KPIs, tracking trends and making better decisions to improve your pharmacy’s bottom line.
Cost: $66 per person (includes morning tea)

2/ WORKSHOP 3: Full Scope of Practice (Thursday AM)

The loudest feedback from APP2023 was a request for a longer workshop detailing pharmacists practising at full scope. In addition to an international and state/territory update, the workshop will cover: How will patients know about full scope services? How can this be made a viable service? ‘How is patients’ engagement recoded by the pharmacist?’
Cost: $33 per person (includes afternoon tea)

3/ Guild Members Only Breakfast (Friday AM)

This Guild Member only event will provide a confidential update on the 2023 Federal Budget measures, Eighth Community Pharmacy Agreement, key industry issues and State and Territory pharmacy initiatives. All Guild members are encouraged to attend.

4/ Industry Update (Friday AM)

2023 has seen some major challenges thrown at community pharmacy. Setting the scene for the conference, this opening plenary session will provide a briefing on key pharmacy industry issues, some of which will be discussed in greater detail in subsequent conference sessions. Community pharmacy needs to plan for the future and make adjustments to ensure pharmacy viability and job protection.

5/ Navigating dispensing reforms – practical solutions to manage profitability in a changing environment (Friday AM)

Amidst evolving dispensing reforms, this session will explore key strategies to navigate the changing landscape, including (1) how to enhance operational efficiency through process streamlining and automation to allow pharmacists to focus on patient care, (2) the significance of diversifying revenue streams by expanding services to capitalize on emerging opportunities, and (3) how to leverage technology for data analysis and personalized patient interactions to enable tailored healthcare solutions and foster customer loyalty.

6/ The role of pharmacists in a modern health system (Friday AM)

Dr Nick Coatsworth is an expert in health policy and public administration, a practising infectious diseases physician, and Ambassador for Health Reform for the Australian Patients Association. Nick held a national role in the Australian response to COVID-19 as Deputy Chief Medical Officer. One of the highset profiled doctors in Australia will provide his view on the role of pharmacists in a modern health system.

7/ Unveiling the mysteries of 60-day dispensing (Friday PM)

Join NostraData as they embark on an exploration into the heart of the 60-day dispensing paradigm of PBS listed items. The session will delve into the significant implications for community pharmacies, shedding light on the profound questions that lie beneath the surface and providing suggestions for ways in which losses could be recovered. Be enlightened and challenged as the intricacies of this seismic shift in pharmaceutical dispensing practices are discussed.

8/ Pharmacist Scope of Practice Update (Friday PM)

While a number of Scope of Practice initiatives are in place across the country, this session will focus on the largest, the NSW Scope of Practice Trial. Delegates interested in this topic should firstly consider attending the Full Scope of Practice pre-conference workshop held on Thursday 31 August. This session will provide an overview of the progress to date of the NSW trial.

9/ The Mindful High Performer (Saturday AM)

Founder and Director of EQ Minds, Chelsea Pottenger is on a mission to empower high performance through greater mindfulness. In this session, Chelsea will take you on an incredible journey of how to build resilience and maximise your potential. You will leave the session with a series of actionable insights about how to invest in your mental and physical wellbeing.

10/ Panel Session: Support the products that keep pharmacies a destination for Australian shoppers (Saturday AM)

This panel session will provide market insights, courtesy of IQVIA, which highlight those categories greatly affected by market share erosion from alternative channels such as grocery and e-commerce. Join our panel of industry experts, who will discuss how to reduce the impact of this on your pharmacy.

11/ Look before you leap – PDL’s advice on risk management in existing and future pharmacy services (Saturday AM)

With the changing face of pharmacy, proprietors may be contemplating providing new services to their communities. Before implementing any additional services, proprietors are encouraged to undertake thorough preparation and risk assessments to ensure these services are carried out safely and effectively. This session will discuss common areas that can be overlooked when implementing new services such as consent (clinical and financial), documentation and record keeping, privacy and continuous quality improvement.

12/ Big data, big opportunities – using data and analytics to maximise business performance and increase profitability (Saturday PM)

Community Pharmacy is a data rich environment and pharmacists need to embrace data to maximise business performance. Pharmacists are however time poor so it is best to focus on key data outputs that give you the maximum return. This session will show you how!

After attending these sessions and more, you will be inspired to return to your pharmacy and in turn, inspire your colleagues. We face many challenges at present, so focus on what you can. I look forward to seeing you at Pharmacy Connect.