Chemotherapy Compounding / 31 May, 2021

Slade’s compounding IT guru

Slade Health writer

Andrew Inchley has built his career on getting to the heart of issues and constructing innovative solutions. Over the last 12 years with Icon Group and Slade, he has embraced opportunities to refine a unique skill set, blending pharmaceutical knowledge with a solid grounding in IT.

Andrew is our GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) Systems Manager at Mt Waverley. It’s a diverse role in which Andrew serves as the interface between operations on the manufacturing floor and the IT systems that drive them.

“A lot of what we do is around quality assurance and reporting. We challenge the system we’ve designed to ensure it will behave the way we expect, and we analyse it to identify areas for improvement. We look at ways to help users make decisions, reduce errors, and provide clearer and synthesised information.”

It’s no surprise then, that Andrew says the best part of his role is the challenge of problem solving.

“I could never be bored in a job. I’m driven by the unique challenges of every day. I’m lucky enough to be invited to assist on projects that call for innovative solutions. I have the chance to look at something and say, ‘we can do it differently, we can do it better.’ And this is what Slade Health promises – change and progress.”

Early days as a graduate pharmacist

Andrew says it’s his growth-mindset and a healthy dose of curiosity that has brought him to where he is today.

After leaving school in 1998, Andrew enrolled in a pharmaceutical degree at Monash University, Melbourne. He began working part time in a dispensary, focusing on non-sterile compounding – the process of formulating customised medication for patients.

“I’d always wanted to work in healthcare. My mother was a nurse. I didn’t want to be a doctor, and pharmacy seemed like it would give me a good opportunity to make a difference.”

At his first job, Andrew quickly saw an opportunity to improve the batch sheet (pharmaceutical labels) database and bolster its capabilities.

“The batch sheets were just Word documents saved on a hard drive. I had an interest in IT, so I constructed a database that would hold all the formulations and calculate prices according to each formulation’s ingredients.”

His craftsmanship in addressing the issue would be a preamble to the narrative of his career.

Joining the Icon and Slade family

After graduating, Andrew packed his bags and headed to Mackay to help set up a non-sterile compounding facility. After eight months however, he was ready to move home to be closer to family and friends. Returning to Melbourne he worked as a locum pharmacist for over a year, gaining experience across a number of pharmacies. With a growing curiosity about the world of hospital pharmacy, he joined Icon’s pharmacy division via Slade Richmond as a compounding pharmacist in November 2007. A year into his role, Andrew embraced with both arms the opportunity to step up into a leadership position.

“I learned a lot very quickly – how to run and maintain a clean room and how to lead people. Slade put me on a management course; a practical course to help me transition from a technical role to leading people. It gave me confidence in what I was doing, and it demonstrated Slade’s confidence in me.”

All in: transitioning to an IT role

When Slade Health joined Icon Group in 2015, Andrew and his team were exposed to the customised software of another facility; an advanced system which they wanted to see at Waverley.

The software training fueled Andrew’s passion for IT processes, so he decided to step into a role solely focused on IT processes, as our GMP Systems Manager.

“We’ve continued to develop the software, including adding a web-based ordering portal to allow customers to place orders from anywhere in the world. This was a big achievement because it has reduced reliance on our operators. We’ve also built a clinical oncology system interface for health professionals and patients to send orders to us directly. We’re always looking at ways to revolutionise our operating systems.”

Slade Health and Icon Group welcome innovation. They’re open to change and doing things differently. I’ll present something and they’ll say, ‘Hey, great idea. Let’s run with it’. I started in a clinical role but I’ve embraced different opportunities over the years, as a result I’ve uncovered a unique role which really suits my interests.

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