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Each year, APP Chairman Kos Sclavos AM is asked to share his top APP program highlights – a difficult task given the calibre of sessions and speakers. Below are Kos’s top 20 picks for 2024 (in conference date and time order):

A big caveat on the 2024 program, and indeed the Top 20, will be changes to the schedule if the 8CPA is signed off and announced by APP. 2024, more than any other year, is one where you will need to check the program online regularly for the latest educational conference program.

1) Full Scope of Practice Workshop (Wednesday PM)
As there are several conflicting workshops on this day, I recommend that at least one member of your pharmacy team/ group needs to attend this workshop. So much has happened with pharmacists practising at full scope. Do you know the pharmacist training options for your state/ territory jurisdiction? Are you aware of premises requirements/ changes re consultation rooms etc? How will these new services be promoted to patients? What clinical record-taking is needed? Don’t miss this jam-packed three-hour workshop.

2) Opening Address and Pharmacy of The Year winners (Thursday AM)
Hear from Guild National President, Professor Trent Twomey, about the Guild’s latest discussions, disagreements, and agreements with the Government. There are many unknowns at present. Attendees will also hear about the vision for the next 12 months relating to pharmacists practising at full scope. Be inspired by the Pharmacy of the Year winners, who will showcase best practice in action. What a way to kick off the conference program.

3) The Prescribing Pharmacist – the Australian lived experience (Thursday AM)
As promoted, this panel discussion will delve into the lived experiences of pharmacists implementing expanded services and participating in the Queensland Scope of Practice Pilot Program, who will share their journeys, insights and transformations as pharmacist practice continues to evolve before our eyes.

4) Do we need Artificial Intelligence to serve customers better? (Thursday PM)
The team from Fred, who are well placed to showcase this session, will discuss Artificial intelligence (AI) from a pharmacy perspective. While the rise of AI dominates the world media, this presentation focuses on changes you can make today in your pharmacy to make life easier for customers and your team. Smart solutions already exist that can increase your profits and improve your throughput. This session will share tips and tricks and show you how pharmacies are using various solutions together to create an amazing customer experience.

5) Global pharmaceutical trends and their impact on Australian medicines, pharmacies and healthcare systems (Thursday PM)
I am thrilled APP has secured London-based Alistair Grenfell, President of Europe, Middle East, Africa and South Asia & Global Head of Public Health from IQVIA, to present. If you want to learn about the global trends in pharmaceuticals that will influence Australia, this is a must-attend session. As the world’s largest Contract Research Organisation (CRO), IQVIA is well placed to facilitate this session. Alistair will also discuss how health professionals, including pharmacists, will play an increasingly critical role in an evolving modern health system.

6) Older adult vaccination in Australia – what’s new? (Thursday PM)
From 1 January 2024, in line with Australian state and territory legislation, pharmacists were able to more broadly administer vaccines to people aged 5 years and over.  Currently, ~16% (>4.2 million) of Australians are aged 65 and over, but this is expected to grow to 21-23% of the population by 2066. With 1850 pharmacies still yet provide a vaccination service one of my goals with APP2024 is to help see a drop in this non-participant number. Pharmacists have a unique opportunity to support vaccine uptake in older adults.  Just as important these services in pharmacy help build viability. This session, delivered by an expert geriatrician, will focus on the opportunities and challenges of older adult vaccination.

7) Guild Member (Proprietor) Only Breakfast: Industry Update (Friday AM)
In this closed session, Guild Members will hear from the Guild National President, Professor Trent Twomey, who will detail the Guild’s advocacy. Members will also hear the latest about the 8CPA. As this session will disclose information that can’t be discussed in the public domain, it is worth coming to APP for this key briefing alone!

8) The Panel: State of the Industry (Friday AM)
One of my favourite sessions, always. Hear from leaders of Consumer Healthcare Products Australia, Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association, National Pharmaceutical Services Association, and The Pharmacy Guild of Australia. We are just over 12 months away from the next Federal Election – where does pharmacy and pharmaceuticals sit in the political landscape?

9) Against all odds – an inside account of the Thai cave rescue (Friday AM)
I promise you will be blown away by this presentation! Dr Richard “Harry” Harris is an Australian anaesthetist who played a crucial role in the Tham Luang cave rescue in Thailand in 2018. Find out how Harry and his dive partner, Craig Challen, put their medical expertise and cave diving knowledge to work to remain calm under extreme pressure and intense scrutiny, and to adapt to constantly changing circumstances in order to save the lives of the young boys and their coach.

10) How Useful Belief changes how you look at work and the customer experience (Friday AM)
Chris Helder is a high energy presenter who is back to the APP stage by popular demand. Chris will focus on two areas: (1) mindset – how to challenge your team to re-frame the difficult parts of their working lives and help them develop a Useful Belief in order to take control of their mindset and open their brain to the opportunities that present themselves; and (2) building customer relationships – how to recognise and adapt to different personality styles and determine how to be more effective in dealing with all types of customers.

11) Adapt (Friday AM)
Gus Balbontin is a man of many talents and an impressive resume. Join this futurist as he examines the adaptability required to chase an ever-changing customer. Gus’s presentation will focus on simple yet powerful concepts of change, adaptability, transformation, technology and innovation and how we can easily forget the customer and focus our efforts on the business instead. Gus’s lessons, learnt from decades of market disruption and business transformation in a variety of industries, are common sense and easy to implement immediately.

12) Expand your scope of practice with Metagenics (Friday PM)
I have often said that pharmacy needs to implement a number of new initiatives to incrementally fill the profit void caused by 60-DD. This session will explain one key strategy – growing your nutraceuticals category. This presentation will empower you to discover new opportunities to confidently co-prescribe adjunctive therapies, leading to improved patient outcomes. You will also uncover proactive ways to enhance your involvement in managing common conditions within the increased scope of practice, such as uncomplicated UTIs.

13) Industry perspectives on driving customers to your front of store (Friday PM)
This is another key session aimed at assisting pharmacies to bridge the profit gap caused by 60-DD. During this panel session speakers will delve into consumer insights to tailor offerings that speak directly to the community’s needs, particularly in critical health categories like immunity and mental wellbeing.

14) Harm Minimisation Stream (Friday PM)
One pharmacy statistic that needs improvement is the number of pharmacies engaged with the full range of harm minimisation services, which is currently fewer than 2,000. Further to this, the last 12 months has seen significant government investment in ‘uncapped programs’. If you have never participated, it is time for a fresh look. Join leaders in their fields to discuss local and international trends, as well as treatments and potential solutions to help make our communities safer.

15) Influenza vaccination in 2024 – NIP and private market opportunities (Saturday AM)
This session is a must-attend for those 1,850+ pharmacies that are not participating in NIP. With pharmacists playing a greater role in influenza immunisation, this session will highlight the opportunities that exist within the NIP and private market for eligible patients. In addition, understand more about influenza vaccination options to help prepare your flu clinic.

16) Equal Justice (Saturday AM)
Rabia Siddique is a human rights lawyer and retired British Army officer who successfully sued the UK Ministry of Defence for discrimination after it failed to acknowledge the role she played in the rescue of two captured Special Forces soldiers in war-torn Iraq in 2008. Join Rabia, who will share a personal story of battling with discrimination, abuse, chronic illness and PTSD after her involvement in the hostage crisis, and who will explore what it means to display moral courage, to lead by example, to stand up for one’s principles in the face of criticism, adversity and sacrifice, and to fight for equality.

17) Buying and selling a pharmacy today (Saturday PM)
No matter where you are on your pharmacy ownership journey (about to buy/happy with your pharmacy business/considering selling etc), attendance at this session is crucial so that you know the current market. This session will provide an overview of the negotiations involved in the buying and selling of pharmacies, the funding options available for purchase and a full explanation of the process regarding the execution of the sale.

18) How can your community pharmacy pivot to remain viable (Saturday PM)
This session will detail key success factors as pharmacy deals with the impact of 60-DD. With a new Agreement and numerous reviews into the role pharmacists can play, this will be a key APP session.

19) Exploring the pharmacy market and financial landscape – 40+ years of challenges and successes (Saturday PM)
Frank Sirianni will provide a financial and market update on the impact of 60-DD so far and provide some context in the light of over 40 years of pharmacy financial and economic trends. The session will also update attendees on the current market capitalisation rates highlighting the differences between market prices and valuations and will examine the current pharmacy market climate and factors driving market sentiment.  Insight on pharmacy valuation trends and issues arising from the new pharmacy economic climate will also be provided.

20) Sunday Professional Stream (Sunday AM)
The Sunday program presents an opportunity to take in-depth look into key areas of pharmacy practice including clinical governance. This day is a must-attend for new pharmacy managers or pharmacy owners.

Finally, a reminder to view the program at www.appconference.com on a regular basis, or sign up to the APP e-News, as the program will be continually updated in the lead up to APP2024.