Acentrus Specialty Conference: An Agenda Focused on Challenges and Solutions

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Specialty Pharmacy By the Numbers

From breaking payor barriers to optimizing infusion opportunities, the third annual Acentrus Specialty Conference looked at challenges facing health system specialty pharmacies today — and solutions that are shaping the future of specialty pharmacy. With more than 140 registrants, the conference brought pharmacists, manufacturers, service providers, and other industry stakeholders together in April in San Diego to share strategies and best practices. Across 14 sessions spanning two days, participants examined top-of-mind concerns from health inequities to data delivery while networking with health system pharmacy leaders and conference sponsors including BeiGene, Omnicell, Seagen, Alnylam, D2 Solutions, Merck, MetaStar, URAC, and ASHP, a strategic partner. A session recap follows. Download presentations on the conference website.


Precisely Practicing Medicine from 700 Trillion Points of Data
Keynote speaker Atul Butte, MD, PhD, Chief Data Scientist for the University of California Health System and the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg Distinguished Professor and Inaugural Director of the Bakar Computational Health Sciences Center at UC San Francisco, discussed the UC Health System’s focus on integrating electronic health records data and translating analytics into new evidence for drug efficacy, new savings from better medication choices, and new insights into the transformative power of precision medicine.

REMS Strategies: Successful Management
Risk mitigation through the successful application of REMS requirements is crucial to the safe and effective use of specialty medications. Panelists discussed how compliance with REMS requirements requires logistical planning, education, and reporting.
Moderator: Burnis Breland, MS, PharmD, FASHP, Regional Account Director, Acentrus Specialty
Lisa Cristofaro, BS Pharm, BCACP, Market Access Manager, University of Rochester
Jason Bailly, PharmD, CSP, Specialty Pharmacist in Charge, UC San Diego Health

Payor Partnerships: Where Outcomes, Value, and Data Meet
Health system specialty pharmacies are using innovative strategies to build partnerships with PBMs and other payor networks. Joshua Weber, PharmD, MBA-HCM, BCMTMS, Director, Specialty Pharmacy Services, UVA Health, discussed how his team is removing access barriers by demonstrating clinical value and optimized financial outcomes.

ASHP Specialty Pharmacy Survey Results: A Sneak Peek
David Chen, RPH, MBA, Assistant Vice President for Pharmacy Leadership and Planning at ASHP, previewed the results of the latest ASHP survey on integrated, advanced practice specialty pharmacy models in hospitals and health systems.

Infusion Integration: Site of Care Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities
How do health systems operationalize infusion care between specialty pharmacies, infusion clinics, and home infusion? Panelists discussed market trends and how their health systems have retained infusion services to maximize care integration, lower costs, and increase revenue.
Steve Kennedy, PharmD, CSP, Senior Consulting Solutions Director, Vizient
Scott Copple, RPh, Pharmacy Manager, Mercy Specialty and Home Infusion Pharmacy Riverport
William Kupka, PharmD, BCPS, 340B ACE, Pharmacy Director, University Hospitals

Data Driven Decision Making: A Specialty Pharmacy Framework
Every health system faces daily decisions about how to allocate limited resources. Karen Thomas, PharmD, PhD, MBA, Outcomes Coordinator, University of Illinois at Chicago-UI Health, discussed how her team has developed a decision-making framework based on operational and performance metrics and deployed it to evaluate growth opportunities, foster innovation, streamline strategy, and standardize decision-making.

Specialty Pharmacy Shipping: Overcoming Challenges
Specialty pharmacy shipping can be costly, complicated, and plagued by process breakdowns. Panelists discussed how they have Implemented workflow changes, established vendor partnerships, and leveraged best practices to mitigate shipping issues while minimizing costs, improving patient safety and satisfaction, and decreasing medication waste.
Moderator: Allison Bystriansky, MBA, Regional Account Director, Acentrus Specialty
Marc Choquette, PharmD, MBA, Pharmacy Operations Manager, Saint Luke's Advanced Care Pharmacy
William Gatlin, PharmD, Chief Clinical Officer, ParcelShield
Sarah Thornton, PharmD, BCACP, Specialty Pharmacy Compliance Officer, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences


Acentrus Specialty—Today and Tomorrow
Acentrus Vice President and General Manager Julia Hancock, MBA, shared an update on the Acentrus network’s strategic direction, with a continued focus on increasing access to medications while demonstrating that an integrated approach to clinical and pharmacy care delivers better outcomes for patients at an overall cost savings.

The Manufacturers’ Perspective on Data Collaboration: Why It Matters
How can drug manufacturers help health system specialty pharmacies improve patient care? Panelists discussed the value of health system specialty pharmacy data from a manufacturers perspective — and the role of Acentrus in benchmarking data to deliver new insights into drug therapies.
Moderator: Michelle Lee, PharmD, RPh, Portfolio Executive, Acentrus Specialty
Jillian Dura, PharmD, BCOP, Assistant Director, Specialty Accounts, Seagen
Torry Thomas, RN, BSN, Director, National Accounts IDN/HS, BeiGene

Combating Health Inequities: Addressing Social Determinants of Health
Specialty pharmacies are uniquely positioned to identify social factors affecting patient health and provide the care coordination that drives better outcomes. Panelists discussed how this role is vital to closing the health disparity gap and providing patients with the assistance and advocacy they need throughout their treatment journeys.
Moderator: Neesha Thakkar, PharmD, BCPS, Regional Account Director, Acentrus Specialty
Kama Thomas, PharmD, Health Outcomes and Research Coordinator, Froedtert Health
Heather Dalton, PharmD, MS, Specialty Pharmacy Manager, Froedtert Health
Mackenzie Clark, PharmD, APh, BCPS, BCGP, Clinical Supervisor, University of California, San Francisco Health

Leveraging Data: Demonstrate Pharmacy Value Beyond Dispensing
Pharmacist interventions are integral to better health outcomes but documenting the correlation can be difficult. Panelists discussed how electronic health records and other data sources are vital to demonstrating pharmacy value beyond dispensing — and how capturing, analyzing, and communicating EHR data will raise awareness of the role that pharmacists play in patient outcomes.
Jennifer Loucks, PharmD, BCPS, Ambulatory Clinical Pharmacy Manager, University of Kansas Health System
Sarah K. Daniel, PharmD, MS, BCPS, Assistant Director of Pharmacy, University of Kansas Health System
Samaneh Wilkinson, MS, PharmD, CPEL, Senior Director of Ambulatory Pharmacy Services, University of Kansas Health System

A Time for Change: Biosimilars
Biosimilars are on the rise with many anticipated to enter the market in 2023. Panelists discussed market trends, utilization factors, and how health systems and payors are managing formulary decision-making and costs as biosimilars boom.
Shannon Holden, PharmD, BCACP, Senior Clinical Manager, Pharmacy, Vizient Inc.
Dean Erhardt, BBA, MBA, President and CEO, D2 Solutions

Exploring Practice Models: Clinical and Specialty Pharmacy
New practice models are emerging in specialty pharmacy with the growing recognition that care coordination improves outcomes and reduces overall costs. Three health system panelists shared how their integrated practice models are making a difference in time to therapy, adherence, and outcomes.
Lanh Dang, PharmD, BCACP, Clinical Ambulatory Care Pharmacist-Multispecialty, UF Health Jacksonville
Alana Rice, PharmD, Pharmacy Clinical Practice Specialist-GI/Hepatology, University of Texas Medical Branch
Mike James, PharmD, MBA, Associate, Chief Pharmacy Officer, UAB Hospital

340B Update: Meeting Specialty Pharmacy Challenges and Moving Forward
The 340B Drug Pricing Program reached a 30-year milestone in 2022. Panelists discussed how this program has impacted health system specialty pharmacies — and why safety-net hospitals continue to face challenges in accessing specialty medications for the populations they serve.
Moderator: Burnis Breland, MS, PharmD, FASHP, Regional Account Director, Acentrus Specialty
James Jorgenson, RPh, MS, FASHP, Chief Executive Officer and Board Chair, Visante Consulting
Chris Hatwig, MS, RPh, FASHP, President, Apexus

Robert Scholz, RPh, MS, MBA
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Robert Scholz, RPh, MS, MBA
Robert, Scholz, Acentrus Specialty Senior Director, Account Management, served as co-chair of the Acentrus Specialty Conference Committee. In this role, he was involved in all aspects of conference development and implementation.