Navigating the Rising Tide of Health System Specialty Pharmacy

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Specialty Pharmacy By the Numbers

At the 2018 Vizient Spring Connections Summit, the Acentrus Specialty team conducted a panel discussion with leading specialty pharmacy experts who shared program implementation best practices at their health systems. Kelley Griffith from Kootenai Health, Matthew Malachowski of UAB Medicine, and Kimberly Spading of the University of Iowa shared their experiences implementing outpatient specialty pharmacy programs at their organizations. During the session, we addressed the many challenges that health systems face when navigating specialty pharmacy, and the stakeholder advantages that result from implementing an integrated care approach.

Health System Approach to Specialty Pharmacy

Health systems are a vital channel participating in specialty pharmacy because of the primary advantages of enhanced visibility and face-to-face interaction when caring for their patients. Health system specialty pharmacies also offer advantages to manufacturers, resulting in higher patient performance metrics. Although specialty medications by themselves create unique hurdles for patients, manufacturers, and payers, a more comprehensive partnership approach led by health systems creates a positive impact on patient care. Here’s how:

Recurring root causes of poor patient outcomes include prescription abandonment, time to fill, and adherence. Cost is a primary contributing factor to patient prescription abandonment. Health system specialty pharmacists address this issue by working as a part of the integrated care team, directly engaging with patients to reduce costs and decrease time to therapy, all while increasing adherence.

Panelists discussed how these benefits are realized through a proactive approach to patient management and active collaboration between pharmacist and prescriber. Health systems are experienced in managing transitions of care, and provide a single setting to provide complete care to the patient.

Hospital-based specialty pharmacy is uniquely positioned to merge medical and pharmacy data, creating a comprehensive picture of the patient’s care. This is accomplished by sharing and documenting in a single electronic health record (EHR), making patient clinical data available to the entirety of the health care team.

Manufacturers and Data

Manufacturers need comprehensive data and clinical support offered by health system specialty pharmacies that help demonstrate drug efficacy. Focusing on a more direct relationship with the health system specialty pharmacy creates an environment to deliver complex treatment, with the necessary data to back it up.

Manufacturers need:

  • Integrated clinical support for their specialty medications
  • Comprehensive data
  • Demonstrated reduction in time to therapy
  • Visibility into the entire patient journey
  • Support for post-marketing drug efficacy studies
  • Findings to be delivered by leading health care brands and key opinion leaders

To be more specific, manufacturers are interested in three distinct types of data:

  • Dispensing data
  • Patient adherence and case management data
  • Patient clinical data found in EHR systems

With one centralized source for data in the form of an EHR that captures both clinical and prescription information, manufacturers are able to gain better insight into the data needed to understand the entire patient experience. These data can be reported more efficiently and are far more meaningful and actionable. By working with a health system, pharma can reduce the cost of gathering the data and work closer with physicians and pharmacists.

Acentrus Specialty and Specialty Pharmacy

Acentrus has created an Integrated Care Network (ICN) where patients receive the best possible outcome through lower prescription abandonment rates, faster time to therapy, and higher adherence. This establishes a flow of information and resources among manufacturers, payers, and health systems to answer all interconnected needs. 

Through Acentrus, manufacturers gain:

  • Access to centers of excellence and key opinion leaders within the Acentrus integrated care network
  • Reduced contracting burden
  • Higher patient performance metrics
  • Access to a richer data set and the ability to access pharmacy transaction data as well as other medical record attributes 

Panelist Credentials 

  • Kelley Griffith, PharmD, BCPS, is the Director of Pharmacy and Respiratory Therapy Services at Kootenai Health, a community-owned facility in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
  • Matthew Malachowski, PharmD, BCPS, is the Supervising Pharmacist for Specialty Pharmacy Services (SPS) at UAB Medicine in Birmingham, Alabama.
  • Kimberly Spading, RPh, MBA, is the Specialty Pharmacy Services Manager at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) in Iowa City.

Questions? We’d love to hear from you. Please call us at 469-299-7250 or drop us a note.

Bob Leinss
Bob serves as an expert resource in health system specialty pharmacy. He has a unique proficiency for facilitating collaboration between Acentrus clients in order to optimize operational performance, improve clinical outcomes, and enhance value.