Tip of the Week: Building a Pharmacy Business by Creating a Supportive Environment

Awareness of various methods, conceptual approaches, and theories can help generate success for a pharmacy entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship may never be called “easy”, but it frequently is fun, exciting, and allows one to become stimulated in ways that other aspects of work cannot always replicate. Additionally, while not "easy", there are things one should be mindful of when taking on entrepreneurial endeavors to improve your likelihood of success. Among them is an awareness of various methods, conceptual approaches, and theories that have been repeatedly reported in the literature as generating success.

This week’s pharmacy management Tip of the Week utilizes an example from pharmacist prescribing in Canada, an issue becoming more prominent in United States. In Canada, certain provinces allow for pharmacist prescribing, yet its uptake is not always what was envisioned.

Researchers implemented a tool to help discern the extent to which pharmacists take up prescribing in Alberta.1 Using a study that employed Diffusion of Innovations Theory as a guide, these researchers identified 8 factors responsible for pharmacist uptake of prescribing.

They identified factors are as follows:

  • Self-efficacy (e.g., confidence in ability to prescribe and initiate new therapy)
  • Support from the practice environment (e.g., adequate staffing, access to patient information, employer expectations)
  • Support from interprofessional relationships (e.g., sense of collaboration with other prescribers)
  • Impact on professionalism (e.g., how this is perceived to look for pharmacists, or the extent that it advances the profession)
  • Impact on patient care (e.g., whether the patient is better off with pharmacists able to prescribe)
  • Prescribing beliefs (e.g., whether the role extends what pharmacists already do, and possible increased liability for pharmacists
  • Technical use of the electronic health record (EHR) (e.g., whether the health record is easily accessible and navigable)
  • Utility and functionality of the EHR (e.g., the extent to which the EHR has the necessary lab values, medication history, and other requisite information).

Organizational culture and support, adequate training to ensure self-efficacy, investing in capacity, and giving individuals the tools they need were instrumental in creating success. The same can be said for most processes and innovations.

Pharmacy managers must provide a supportive environment and consistently ‘walk the walk’; that is, if the manager comes up with new ideas yet does not follow through or give employees the tools they need, those employees will begin to view these ideas in a negative light. Instilling the right culture of support will help to promote entrepreneurial ideas and build cadres of the willing in joining you.

Additional information about entrepreneurship and innovation, and organizational structure and behavior can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e.

Shane P. Desselle, RPh, PhD, FAPhA, is Professor of Social/Behavioral Pharmacy at Touro University California.


Guirguis LM, Hughes CA, Makowsky MJ, et al. Development and validation of a survey instrument to measure factors that influence pharmacist adoption of prescribing in Alberta, Canada. Pharm Pract (Granada) 2018;16:1068.

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