2 healthcare challenges this Parkview Health pharmacy leader never saw coming – Becker's Hospital Review

By | January 5, 2019

Tara Jellison, PharmD, manager of ambulatory clinical services and residency program director in the pharmacy department at Parkview Health in Fort Wayne, Ind., discusses key challenges pharmacy leaders face and shares tips for managing drug spend.

Editor’s Note: Responses are edited for length and clarity

Question: What are some of the key challenges pharmacy leaders must overcome?

Dr. Tara Jellison: One big challenge is leading people and getting all generations to work toward the same organizational and departmental goals. The key to that is keeping co-workers motivated and finding that source of motivation for each co-worker, which is not always easy.

In addition, I would say reimbursement changes and uncertainty. Another challenge is the introduction of higher-cost oncology drugs. It is tough to balance the cost and outcomes, while the heart and mind are tugging in different directions when a patient is directly in front of you.  The science and literature are the easy parts. Adding a patient and a family is where it becomes a true challenge.

Q: When it comes to managing drug spend, what advice would you offer other pharmacy leaders?

TJ: I would offer a few pieces of advice. First, obtain physician champions. Second, talk about the challenges with the C-suite so they aren’t surprised by a dollar figure they weren’t expecting. This also means getting ahead of the decisions and discussing them with your key stakeholders to manage and help them understand use before the anecdotal experience overrides the science. Lastly, I would say limit access to vendors and drug representatives. Your pharmacy should be the messenger.

Q: What major changes in healthcare have you seen in recent years that you would have never expected when you started in the industry?

TJ: The impact of reimbursement changes and the dependence on the political party in power to affect our bottom line. For example, the different 340B rulings or the potential to establish an International Pricing Index Model, among others.

More articles on pharmacy:
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Biosimilars cost up to 80% more in the US than Europe: Here’s why

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