Provider Partnerships: The Leading Strategy for Health System Specialty Pharmacy Success


An upcoming webinar by Trellis Rx on Wednesday, September 18, will offer a firsthand look into how to accelerate the growth of your specialty pharmacy program by building strong provider partnerships.

Six months ago, Summa Health embarked on the journey to offer clinic-based health system specialty pharmacy services in its outpatient clinics. In the first four months, pharmacy leaders were able to expand the program to nine clinics, significantly enhancing patient care while also growing revenue by approximately 800%.

Provider partnerships are a cornerstone of success for health system specialty pharmacies. However, securing support from members of the care team can prove to be challenging for pharmacy leaders. Summa Health’s endeavor has thus far proved successful, leading to improved clinical outcomes, provider satisfaction, and financial results.

An upcoming webinar by Trellis Rx on Wednesday, September 18, will offer a firsthand look into how to accelerate the growth of your specialty pharmacy program by building strong provider partnerships. Trellis Rx works with health systems to enhance the specialty pharmacy experience for their patients by building and growing comprehensive, clinic-based specialty pharmacy programs under their brands.

Experts John Feucht, system director of pharmacy services at Summa Health; Stuart Deal, manager of Summa Health Specialty Pharmacy; and Denali Cahoon, chief operating officer of Trellis Rx, will delve into how health system specialty pharmacies can emulate the success illustrated by Summa Health with key strategies for driving higher levels of provider engagement.

“When we develop strong partnerships with providers, we are able to significantly enhance patient care,” Stuart Deal, manager of Summa Health Specialty Pharmacy, said. “Working with our physicians and nurses, we’re improving medication affordability, turnaround times, adherence, and more.”

The webinar, which will be held on September 18, is designed to equip pharmacy leaders with the strategies to do just that. This will include insight into how to:

  • Leverage data to develop an effective clinic integration plan.
  • Use stakeholder analysis to identify and engage key influencers in clinics.
  • Determine the best ways to integrate into existing clinic workflows.
  • Measure and report on clinical and operational performance, including provider satisfaction using Net Promoter Score surveys.

When launching its specialty pharmacy services, Summa Health, in partnership with Trellis Rx, worked to gain support from physicians, nurses, and other members of the care team, which ultimately put them on a path to success.

Since April, Summa Health has helped patients start therapy sooner by streamlining the required prior authorization process, resulting in 98% of prior authorizations submitted in less than one day. Compared with external specialty pharmacies, Summa Health Specialty Pharmacy effectively lowered their average turnaround time for oral oncolytics. Patients using the in-clinic specialty pharmacy experienced an average turnaround time of 1.3 days compared with 9.7 days for external pharmacies.

“Our physicians and nurses have been great advocates for the Summa Health Specialty Pharmacy,” said John Feucht, system director of pharmacy services at Summa Health about how specialty pharmacy services benefit from strong provider partnerships. “By partnering with them to develop specialty pharmacy workflows and establish strong 2-way communication, our clinic-based specialty pharmacy team has gained their buy-in and trust. We’re expecting to expand to 22 clinics by the end of this year, largely because of demand from providers.”

The clinic-based model is already alleviating the administrative burden for staff and leading to better overall patient care. At Summa Health, provider responses highlighted positive experiences with the specialty pharmacy program.

“The efficiency it brings to the office makes the best use of our time clinically,” Amy Hite, M.D., said in a Summa Health provider Q&A. “It helps us fulfill our roles. Our doctors can be doctors, our nurses can be nurses, and our pharmacists can be an integral part of the care team.”

Along with Summa Health, other health systems have benefited from this approach. At one health system, the provider Net Promoter Score* increased 103 points after clinic-based specialty pharmacy services were implemented in partnership with Trellis Rx.

A clinic-based approach can take your specialty pharmacy services to a higher level in terms of clinical outcomes and revenue growth. However, this does not come without collaborative implementation strategies and buy-in from all members of the care team.

“Provider engagement is central to specialty pharmacy success,” Denali Cahoon, chief operating officer, Trellis Rx, said. “In my experience, leveraging a clinic-based care model — where pharmacists and liaisons are embedded into outpatient clinics alongside doctors and nurses – is the leading strategy to build strong provider partnerships.”

For more information, register for Trellis Rx’s webinar Health System Specialty Pharmacy: 5 Strategies for Building Successful Provider Partnership.

*The Net Promoter Score is an industry-recognized tool for measuring customer satisfaction. It is an index ranging from -100 to 100.

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