Education, Training, Collaboration Key Areas of Focus at ASHP

Shields Health Solutions poster presentations highlight a comprehensive approach to specialty patient care and successful results from an expanded offering of instructional programs.

The 2022 American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Summer Meeting (June 11-15 in Phoenix) is a yearly opportunity for the specialty pharmacy industry to share and collaborate on innovative practices in a rapidly evolving field. A pipeline of new therapies, legislative changes, and an expanding pool of patients have combined to put a premium on best practices sharing and educational resources that can help to improve patient outcomes.

This year, Shields Health Solutions (ShieldsRx) participated in 3 poster presentations highlighting its comprehensive approach to specialty patient care and sharing successful results from an expanded offering of instructional programs. Our clinical training programs progress from initial knowledge to continuous and ongoing learning opportunities.

Topic: Educational Impact and Efficacy of a Standardized Virtual Specialty Pharmacist Training Program

Authors: Carlee Montgomery, PharmD, AAHIVP; Lindsey Miller, PharmD, CSP; Dawn DiPasquale, CDPT, CPhT; Jennifer L Donovan, PharmD

The poster tackles the demand for a robust, standardized training program for new Certified Specialty Pharmacists (CSPs) to guarantee optimal patient care and generate confident, valuable members of an interdisciplinary care team.

ShieldsRx designed an extensive virtual training program at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic for onboarding specialty pharmacists. It consists of numerous teaching techniques to support diverse learning styles, such as live virtual lessons taught by an education and development specialist (PharmD), interactive training components, disease state reviews, patient contact shadowing, and active learning. Of the 43 CSPs that completed the program in 2021, 100% of participants felt they were supplied with the fundamental skills to be successful specialty pharmacists, and 77% expressed reasonable preparation to begin their roles.

Topic: Impact of a Comprehensive Training Program for Pharmacy Liaisons within Health System-Owned Specialty Pharmacies

Authors: Angella Vitaliano, BHS, CPhT; Dionesia Meredith, BS, CPhT; and Dawn DiPasquale, CPhT, CTDP

This poster addressed the need for learning programs specifically dedicated to training newly hired specialty pharmacy liaisons (SPLs). The SPL is a member of a patient’s care team who is involved in the hospital clinic, collaborates with providers, coordinates patients’ pharmacy benefits, shares financial assistance resources, and ensures timely medication delivery.

Due to the SPL’s expansive and essential responsibilities, ShieldsRx established a 6-week learning journey across its partner health systems with the intention to boost understanding of specialty disease states and medications and to increase familiarity of the various tools and systems.

The exhaustive SPL teaching program was adopted in 2021 and continues to serve as the training standard across all ShieldsRx partner health systems. A total of 57 SPLs executed the program between the months of December 2021 and February 2022, with 92% of participants disclosing they felt they gained adequate foundational skills to start their positions.

Topic: Enhancing Disease State Knowledge and Outcomes by Implementing a Specialty Pharmacy Communities of Practice Program

Authors: Kuwan Blake, BA, CPHT, and Dawn DiPasquale, CPhT, CTDP

ShieldsRx developed the Communities of Practice (CoP) program to incorporate continuous learning opportunities and a platform for collaboration. The poster presentation described the structure and functionality of the CoP program and demonstrated its impact on specialty operational metrics. Its success is measured by monthly meeting attendance and engagement, as well as operational metrics within the CoP program disease states.

Since its launch in 2020, the CoP program has averaged 180 attendees split among 4 disease states of focus. By 2021, the 4 targeted CoP program disease states experienced increases in the average approval rate for medication prior authorization and reductions in average co-pays post CoP implementation versus pre-CoP implementation.

As the fastest-growing realm of the pharmaceutical space, the need for well-trained specialty pharmacists is increasing in tandem with the urgency for the development of universal, in-depth curriculum across specialty pharmacy. This year’s ASHP Summer Meeting highlighted some of the programs that have made a significant impact on specialty patient care in recent months and offered key insights into replicating those successes across care providers.