It is a means of supporting the growing provider status movement, which could enable clinical practice growth.
Jason Ausili, PharmD, MSLS, Head of Pharmacy Transformation at EnlivenHealth®, joined Pharmacy Times at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Annual Meeting & Exposition in Phoenix, Arizona, to discuss the role of technology in addressing workflow issues, new innovations, embracing provider status, and the significance of engaging with student pharmacists.
PT Staff: What do you think are the most pressing issues for pharmacists right now?
Jason Ausili, PharmD, MSLS: There are 2 main things that are top of mind for most pharmacies right now. Almost every pharmacy wants to do more to help their communities and offer more clinical services. But manual workflows and limited resources both on the time and staffing front are challenging this. Pharmacy teams can't move fast enough to keep up with patient demand amidst a rapidly changing healthcare landscape. The other main issue is people are talking about what's going to happen when the Public Health Emergency expires on May 11, 2023. This has caused a lot of confusion, debate, and really, you know, a lot of anxiety about what's going to impact patient access and affordability and pharmacy reimbursement and privileges. We don't have the ace in the hole for you here today, but what I do know is immediate legislative action has to happen at the state level, especially in states with overly restrictive rules. There could come a time in the near future where a patient can go to a pharmacy and not be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine and that cannot happen. Change also needs to happen on the federal front. As we all know, we've never had pharmacy provider status privilege on the federal level under Medicare. We did introduce the ECAP (Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act) last year, but it didn't go anywhere. The good and exciting news is just this last week on Thursday March 23, 2023. The ECAPS act was reintroduced by the 118th Congress. This bill is a landmark bill because not only would it get us give us federal provider status, but it would also amend the Social Security Act (SSA) and provide equitable reimbursement pathway for pharmacists for pandemic related services like test, treat, and vaccination for COVID-19, flu strep and RSP.
PT Staff: What is being done to address these issues?
Jason Ausili, PharmD, MSLS: Yeah, in addition to advocating for all the things I just mentioned, EnlivenHealth is uniquely positioned to help our customers, our pharmacies, leverage technology to transform their pharmacy businesses. In the wake of the pandemic, pharmacist and their teams really rose as the secret weapon to battling health disparities in this country, and that does not end with the pandemic. Many other public health services are ideally positioned for pharmacy: diabetes prevention, diabetes, education, tobacco cessation, hormonal contraception, and other test and treat services. But the challenges still remain. Their workflows are bogged down and manual resources are limited. Declining reimbursement rates don't help the story either. The good news is technology. This is where technology comes in. By reducing call volume, reducing wait times, and removing remedial tasks, it can make the clinical service delivery process as efficient as possible.
PT Staff: What recent innovations have pharmacists, and your team, made in the last year, and what exciting outcomes can you share?
Jason Ausili, PharmD, MSLS: The biggest innovation that we've made over the past year or so is taking all of our solutions and putting them together in a comprehensive portfolio, covering 4 key categories: clinical, engagement, financial, and analytics. The most exciting innovations really fall in our engagement bucket, with personalized interactive voice response (IVR) launch and our clinical bucket with our Amplicare Clinical Solution. EnlivenHealth personalized IVR delivers a tailored, inbound phone experience for patients, resulting in increased revenue, improve proportion of days covered (PDC) scores, and time savings. On top of this, if freed up to 1 hour of staffing time that can be reinvested into revenue generating clinical services. By combining robust and personalized scheduling with standardized and efficient documentation and revenue generating medical billing, we give pharmacy teams all the tools they need to build their clinical practice all in one place.
PT Staff: EnlivenHealth launched Ask Your Pharmacist. Can you tell me more about that?
Jason Ausili, PharmD, MSLS: Ask Your Pharmacist was really founded on the principle that the nation needs to know more and better understand the value that pharmacies bring to their communities. And it goes across 3 key focuses. We're trying to drive patient awareness of pharmacy-based services beyond filling prescriptions. This is meant to drive healthy dialogue between the patient and their pharmacist regarding the offerings that their pharmacy has in place. We're also strive to empower an and motivate pharmacist and pharmacy technicians to practice at the top of their license. We want them to embrace the growing provider status movement. Finally, Ask Your Pharmacist gives us a voice of advocacy. It helps us influence policy change and ensure the ongoing scope of practice expansion continues to grow. And since I've been here at APhA, I've talked to a lot of pharmacy students about Ask Your Pharmacist. I think I want them to see how exciting the role of the community pharmacist is, and how they have a future in helping patients directly, especially as this provider status movement continues to grow. There's no better place for the students to be and help patients directly than the community pharmacy.
PT Staff: As a community pharmacist, what has been most exciting about the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) 2023 Meeting & Exposition?
Jason Ausili, PharmD, MSLS: I find being here at APhA really exciting because you have a lot of thought leaders and students and people that are doing things on the ground. And they're bringing all these ideas here under one roof. I mean, this is a place where new concepts are born. people discover new technology solutions for the first time. People learn about legislative activity that that they didn't know about before. And I think it's really empowering to be with so many great thought leaders who are all trying to fight for the same thing. Expansion of pharmacist’s capabilities, long-term privileges on that front so that we can better take care of our patients and the community.