Why the Profession of Pharmacy Needs to have an Entrepreneurial Mindset

By Jaclyn Boyle

Let’s start with the compelling reason that healthcare is not being delivered in an optimal way, neither for patients nor for those providing care.

Medication Adherence

If you’re paying attention to the world of medication use, you may recall that adherence statistics remain at abysmal rates throughout the United States. Of course, there are many contributing factors towards these statistics; we now realize that the Social Determinants of Health play a much larger (in fact, about 80%!) role in determining patient outcomes than any possible medication intervention that we could recommend while out there in the field. How could pharmacists contribute to addressing SDoH in their daily practice? How could we design systems that help us empower our patients to address these often overlooked barriers to care?

Why Teach Innovation?

Our schools are required to teach and develop entrepreneurial skills – with the 2013 Center for the Advancement of Pharmacy Education Outcome 4.3 specifically calling out that colleges and schools of pharmacy develop “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” skills, including using creative thinking to imagine new ways to accomplish professional goals. While we may often turn inward and focus on only our own professional growth (which is extremely important, in my opinion), I would argue that equally important is the idea that we need to do better for our patients by imagining the future of healthcare. As a profession, we should be working diligently to implement that future through innovative pharmacy models. Our patients deserve better.

Emerging Business Models

Outpatient care is teeming with opportunities for pharmacists and pharmacy teams to design and implement new models of care that help patients manage chronic health conditions. With challenges in patient access (amplified currently by the pandemic), could pharmacists work to take a hold of this opportunity to extend patient care? We all know there is a TON of evidence demonstrating the benefit of pharmacists in this space, so why isn’t the profession taking this opportunity by STORM? I’m reminded of a Margaret Mead quote “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” This change is not bigger than you. It starts with you. Look for opportunities to learn about and contribute to innovative business models in pharmacy; this saavy will come into handy when you are navigating the world of healthcare with an entrepreneurial mindset.

Nontraditional Careers

I often have discussions with students and pharmacists about the concept of creating their own path forward rather than fitting a pre-made ‘mold’ of a position that is already on the books. I saw a great sign when I was waiting in line for my coffee the other day that said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” This resonated so much with me; pharmacists professional identity has long been defined by a product-centric focus; we are at a tipping point in our profession where patient-centric services, ideas, disruption are all things that we could take advantage of: if we take a growth mindset and flex our creative entrepreneurial skills.

Jaclyn Boyle, PharmD, MS, MBA, BCACP, BCPS

Educator & Career Coach, helping students and pharmacists live a life by their own design

IG & Twitter - @RxJackieBoyle

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaclynboyle/