Value-added pharmacy services come in all shapes and sizes.
Value-added pharmacy services come in all shapes and sizes. The “Value” chapter in the management text listed below reviews future changes in the health care system and scrutinizes pharmacists’ interactions with varied health care industry stakeholders, including employers, peers, insurance companies, government agencies, and taxpayers. It contends that one’s promise for a great career in pharmacy is determined by their ability to demonstrate value for these stakeholders.
Keedy et al described a program to manage the formulary at a large health system.1 They describe how their organization implements a wide-scale cost savings initiative. It involves a review of the top 100 individual employees accounting for the largest expenditures (as patients of that health system). Retrospective chart review was used to access employee prescription data through their PBM’s website and electronic medical record. Areas for potential cost savings included switching employees to formulary alternatives, interchanging to generic medications when feasible, and identifying those individuals who did not fill their prescriptions at the health system’s preferred outpatient pharmacy. After identification, employees were contacted by phone. Seventy-nine individuals were assessed, with 25 of them having potential formulary interventions. Cost savings were $85,654 to the health system and $48,664 to employees and their spouses.
Further analysis of this program demonstrated substantial cost-effectiveness when taking into account program costs (personnel time). In the grand scheme of things, savings of under $100,000 to a large health system might not sound like that much. Yet this was a simple intervention taking relatively little time, some of which was handled by technicians and other staff. The cost-savings to the hospital employees was rather substantial.
One can bet that at least some of those employees (mostly other health professionals) were very pleased by the efforts of the pharmacy and had good things to say about pharmacy staff to other employees. The hospital system was pleased that pharmacy personnel spending just a few hours of time could produce such a savings. The pharmacy demonstrated its value. Managers can always be on the lookout for ways to demonstrate value to other stakeholders.
Additional information about Creating and Managing Value and Implementing Value-Added Services can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. You or your institution can subscribe to AccessPharmacy to access the textbook.
Keedy CA, Schnibben AP, Crosby AF Jr, McGlasson ACL, Misher A. Implementation of a pharmacist-driven formulary management service within a community health-system insurance plan. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2018;75:1854-1556.
Shane P. Desselle, RPh, PhD, FAPhA, is Professor of Social/Behavioral Pharmacy at Touro University California. He is author of Chapter 1: The “Management” in Medication Therapy Management and Management Functions in the textbook Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e.