Engaging Colleges of Pharmacy to Assist Establishing Payer-Provider Relationships


During a presentation at the 2021 annual meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the presenters broke down how best to engage colleges of pharmacy to help in establishing payer-provider relationships. Todd Sorensen, PharmD, one of the session’s presenters, emphasized the importance of these relationships and what they can accomplish.

“I like to think of partnerships as creating scenarios where 1 plus 1 equals 3,” Sorensen said during the presentation. “We can accomplish more in partnership than we can individually.”

According to the panel, creating a successful innovation in pharmacy relies on 3 factors: first, the intervention must be well-defined and have a solid base of evidence behind it. Second, the implementation needs to use evidence-based approaches that support the adoption of the innovation. Finally, the environment in which this innovation is implemented needs to help enable that implementation through policy and socio-economic factors.

“If we’re missing 1 of these 3 elements, it’s very difficult to achieve a positive outcome,” Sorensen said.

Through providing example scenarios, presenter Nicholas Cox, PharmD, BCACP, explained how colleges of pharmacy can take an active role in facilitating this kind of working relationship. At the University of Utah, the Clinical Innovation Fellowship serves both to provide education and scholarship to students while providing the payer organization with targeted, integrated, in-person pharmacist engagement for high-cost patients.

The program is a 1-year fellowship that is 50% funded by the University of Utah College of Pharmacy and 50% funded by the local payer organization SelectHealth. It focuses on ambulatory care, practice implementation and development, teaching and academia, and research and scholarship. For 3 days each week, the fellow provides proactive patient identification on SelectHealth patients at the Granger Medical Clinic, identifying the most medication-complex patients and providing comprehensive medication management.

The speakers also discussed the importance of shared responsibility between payer organizations and provider organizations. They said that in a successful payer-provider partnership, the provider organizations invest in services that generate value for the health plan, take on risk, commit to performance measurement, and create or join communities of practice. Payer organizations, on the other hand, should establish specific standards of service delivery, provide incentives, and invest in provider network development, according to the panel.


Kyle Turner, Todd Sorensen, Nicholas Cox. Strengthening our ties: college of pharmacy engagement in establishing payer-provider relationships. Presented at: 2021 AACP Annual Meeting; on-demand; virtual. Accessed July 21, 2021.

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