Each year, I am asked as APP Chairman to give my top 20 highlights. This year’s program will be particularly exciting, as we are holding APP in the midst of the final negotiations of the 7th Community Pharmacy Agreement.

APP2020 will have a great blend of presentations. Our international speakers will bring insight into what exciting developments are happening to the pharmacy profession around the world. Implementing professional pharmacy programs will also be a key focus. On the local Australian scene there are a range of key developments to discuss, from paperless prescriptions and professional services, through to understanding the changing retail landscape.

As always, picking just 20 program and other highlights is a near impossible task and there are numerous sessions that missed the cut. I urge you to explore the full program and bookmark your session preferences based on your professional development needs and interests.

The APP Chairman’s 20 must-attend sessions and activities (in conference date and time order):

1.         My Community Pharmacy Action Plan (Wednesday)

No matter what your level of pharmacy experience, this pre-conference workshop is great value at $165. Workshop sessions include leadership, how to implement professional services, mentoring, recruitment, ownership and innovation.

2.        Pharmacy of The Year Awards (Thursday AM)

This session highlights excellence in pharmacy as the Guild Pharmacy of the Year overall winner and category winners are announced. Hear about the pharmacies’ transformations, the challenges they faced along the way and how they implemented the changes that have resulted in them being recognised as the top community pharmacies in Australia.

3.         The pharmacist’s clinical process – a foundation of patient care practice - Barbara Gobis, Director of Pharmacists Clinic, University of British Columbia (Canada)                (Thursday AM)

Patients need more pharmacist help to achieve optimal drug therapy outcomes. It’s time to shift front line pharmacist practice, and it’s not as hard as you may   think. This presentation will describe how pharmacists can create and use a clinical process to have a successful, patient-centred community pharmacy practice.

4.        Alan Russell Oration: Global search for innovation - learnings for Community Pharmacy in Australia - Lucy Walker, Community Pharmacist & 2018 Churchill                        Fellowship Recipient (Thursday PM)

This session will detail the findings of an international pharmacy study tour investigating innovative pharmacy practices. Conducted in September/October 2019, the study mission encompassed Sweden, Germany, Scotland, England, Ireland, USA, Canada and New Zealand. Find out how Australian pharmacies can benefit from these investigations.

5.        Special Interest Group Session: Aged Care – Facilitated by Fiona Watson, Branch Committee Member, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch                          (Thursday PM)

The Federal Government’s Royal Commission into Aged Care will impact every Community Pharmacy in Australia. This facilitated discussion session will explore the key issues that Community Pharmacy will face and likely further recommendations that could enhance the role of pharmacy in Aged Care.

6.        What are ePrescriptions and what do they mean to me? - David Freemantle, General Manager eHealth, Fred IT Group; Danielle Bancroft, Product Manager                            Product Manager & Experience Designer, Fred IT Group; Dr Frank Pyefinch, CEO, Best Practice (Thursday PM)

ePrescriptions without paper have long been discussed and are finally a reality. This session will focus on two new models for ePrescriptions, demonstrate how they work, and discuss the changing role of pharmacy in the medications supply process.

7.         Electronic prescriptions – changes to patient engagement with the pharmacist and pharmacy workflow - Paul Naismith, CEO, Fred IT Group (Thursday PM)

The difference between this session and the previous sessions is that it will focus on how the pharmacist interacts with patients, and workflow configuration. After reviewing health systems overseas, this session will outline the most efficient and effective way community pharmacy in Australia should set up their systems to maximise the benefits of electronic prescriptions.

8.        How to connect with your customers - Chris Helder, Business Communication Expert (Thursday PM)

Chris is always entertaining! This session will make an immediate impact in the areas of communication, sales, leadership and building customer relationships. Chris will reveal a fresh approach that concentrates on understanding those you are trying to influence, in order to create a stronger connection and ultimately results.

9.        Welcome Reception (Thursday PM)

The networking focal point and always a highlight of APP, this year’s Welcome Reception is no different and will provide pharmacists, pharmacy staff, students, suppliers and other health-related industry professionals with the perfect opportunity to catch up. The Welcome Reception is where new acquaintances, friendships and business relationships are forged in a relaxed environment. Entertainment, drinks and a buffet dinner will be provided.

10.      Guild Member Only Breakfast (Friday AM)

This interactive breakfast will feature a presentation by Guild National President, George Tambassis and the head of the Guild’s negotiating team, Trent Twomey. It will be followed by a Q&A session where Guild members can pose questions to the National President and other Guild officials. Make sure you book a ticket to this event.

11.      The Panel: State of the Industry (Friday AM)

Always a highlight of APP, this session is an opportunity to hear from the major representative industry bodies from each section of the supply chain – Medicines Australia, Generics Biosimilar Medicines Association, Consumer Healthcare Products Australia, National Pharmaceutical Services Association and The Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

12.      Understanding and engaging with the ever- changing customer - Mark McCrindle, Principal, McCrindle Research (Friday AM)

With greater choice and change, today’s customers are more diverse and empowered than ever before. This session will give an overview of consumer macro segments and emerging micro segments, and how community pharmacies can analyse and track new consumer cohorts. In a world of global brands and empowered customers, leading social researcher Mark McCrindle will outline the key influences and decision drivers for today’s consumers.

13.       Applying retail strategies to the community pharmacy sector - Guy Russo, Senior Adviser, Wesfarmers (Friday PM)

Guy Russo is credited with one of Australia’s greatest business turn-arounds, taking Wesfarmers’ ugly duckling, Kmart from the bottom of the discount chain store ladder to the most popular and profitable retail department store business in Australia today. In this session, Guy will offer in-depth insights, narratives and examples of how he and his team transformed Kmart into today’s iconic brand.

14.     Health and the future: Preparing now for what’s next - Michael McQueen, Trends Expert & Author (Friday PM)

Every business and industry today is facing a perfect storm of disruption and upheaval. In the face of the changes ahead, agility and adaptability will be more important than ever in the health industry. The future success and survival of your business will rest on the ability to anticipate, prepare for and pre-empt disruption. Michael will cover key health trends that every pharmacy needs to know.

15.      Can Australia’s record expansion continue? - Craig James, Chief Economist, CommSec (Saturday AM)

Australia has 28 years of uninterrupted growth. But can the good times last? This session will assess the economic evidence, examining what it means for interest rates, shares and the dollar and ultimately what it means for Australian businesses and families.

16.      Q&A Session: Biosimilar medicines in Community Pharmacy (Saturday AM)

Put simply, in my opinion pharmacists should be attending every session ever presented on this topic. It is key to our future and we need to embrace it. This Q&A style discussion will look to further address the opportunities, concerns and practicalities of biosimilar medicines in community pharmacy.

17.      Ann Dalton Address - Rosie Batty, Former Chair, Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council (Saturday AM)

Rosie Batty knows pain no woman should have to suffer. Her son was killed by his father in a violent incident that shocked not only the nation, but the world. Rosie became an outspoken and dynamic crusader against domestic violence, which led her to be named Australian of the Year in January 2015. Since then, Rosie has made the most of her position of influence, campaigning and advocating for necessary systemic and attitudinal change to address the family violence epidemic.

18.      Panel Session: Embracing digital health solutions - reaping the rewards in your pharmacy (Saturday PM)

Digital transformation in health care presents a significant opportunity for pharmacies in generating new revenue, as well as improving their business operations. This panel session features industry leaders who have successfully embraced technology and innovative business solutions to derive maximum value from their professional roles, by using tools that have assisted with enhancing the operational efficiency of their pharmacies. This session is a must attend for anyone starting on the digital transformation CP2025 pathway in their pharmacy.

19.      APP Street Party – Nautical but nice (Saturday PM)

All aboard the APP ‘Nautical but Nice’ themed Street Party! Featuring another exciting line up of entertainment, this highly anticipated event provides the perfect opportunity to network and create amazing memories with pharmacy colleagues. Featuring in the main arena will be illusionist and escapologist, Cosentino and Queen tribute band, KillerQueen. Back by popular demand will be the silent disco held in the marquee, which will also feature cruise ship themed games, a beauty bar, photo booth and roving entertainment.

20.     The pharmacist’s clinical process: bringing yours to life - Barbara Gobis, Director of Pharmacists Clinic, University of British Columbia (Canada)(Sunday PM)

New times require new approaches. The foundation for patient care practice is a pharmacist’s clinical process. In this workshop, attendees will establish their own clinical process and learn how to use it to care for patients in alignment with growing service expectations and payment opportunities in community pharmacy practice.

And that’s a wrap. I look forward to seeing you, along with 6,500 pharmacists, pharmacy assistants and pharmacy industry representatives, on the Gold Coast from 18 to 22 March.

Kos Sclavos,

APP Chairman

26 FEB 2020

APP Chairman’s top 20 highlights








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The Pharmacy Guild of Australia is committed to the health and safety of all APP attendees. Considerable planning has taken place and daily monitoring continues, to ensure APP is safe for delegates, exhibitors and staff. We are in the process of developing a COVID Safe Event Plan for approval by the Queensland Government. A copy of this plan will be available on this website shortly. We are also working closely with the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, who are operating under an approved Site Specific COVID Safe Plan, in order to protect delegates from the spread of COVID-19. To view this plan click here.