The Importance of a Comprehensive Pharmacy Solution

Paul Peak
Vice President, Clinical Pharmacy, Sedgwick
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Whether it is the latest news on drug importation from Canada, newest medications designed to treat weight loss  or headlines involving retail pharmacies closing their doors for good, there is a lot to keep up with in the world of pharmacy. Whether your biggest concern is drug safety, access, utilization or pricing, risk managers want to feel supported by a comprehensive pharmacy solution. Over the last 10 years, I have supported a large pharmacy solution that has adapted and thrived in an ever-changing industry. Yet, it has become apparent that any successful pharmacy solution must incorporate three core capabilities.

Industry Understanding

There is a big difference between knowledge and understanding. That is, to know certain facts about drug pricing or to know the main players in the industry might be helpful, but it is a much different task to understand how the larger ecosystem of pharmacy operates. I would argue that there are very few business sectors that are more difficult to understand than pharmacy. While partnering with people who have a deep understanding of pharmacy is crucial, it’s also important for those that oversee a pharmacy solution to take ownership of that understanding to make better choices as it relates to individual program needs. Whether it’s Amazon or Mark Cuban disrupting the space or a law setting new expectations for pricing, building out your own mental framework of the system is critical.

Clinical Expertise

Keeping up with industry insights requires time, but keeping up with the latest clinical insights, research and outcomes requires a team. A successful pharmacy solution must employ (or at least have access to) a qualified team of clinical experts. Even though I am a pharmacist, I’ve been fortunate enough to work alongside a large team of clinical experts consisting of other pharmacists, pharmacy interns, nurses and physicians. As drug research continues to expand our ability to treat and cure conditions, staying connected to experts who can determine the clinical value is important. For example, new research was published daily during the COVID-19 pandemic, but clinical expertise helped make informed decisions on what needed to stay on formulary or be excluded.

Technological Agility

Last but not least, harnessing technology to stay agile and flexible is crucial for any pharmacy program. As healthcare continues to move towards a more patient-centric approach, connecting and communicating with patients remains an important focus, and technology plays a huge role in this effort. Technology can also help clinicians better communicate with providers before a prescription is even written so that they have a clear understanding of what is formulary for a given patient. If you support or oversee a pharmacy solution, be sure to partner with vendors who are investing in technology that will improve the experience, at all touchpoints but especially the patient.

*The views and opinions expressed in the Public Risk Management Association (PRIMA) blogs are those of each respective author. The views and opinions do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRIMA.*

By: Paul Peak
Vice President, Clinical Pharmacy, Sedgwick

Paul joined Sedgwick in May 2014 as a clinical pharmacist. In the years since, he has been promoted to vice president, clinical pharmacy. In this role, he helps oversee Sedgwick’s partners and has oversight of Sedgwick’s clinical pharmacist team. This team provides clinical support to the Sedgwick pharmacy program as well as consultations to the medical provider community for alternative pain control strategies, targeting long-term claims with high cost and high risk. Paul also oversees vendor partnerships with the Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) that support the Sedgwick program. Paul brings a wealth of experience to Sedgwick. Prior to joining Sedgwick, he worked for multiple companies and healthcare facilities as a pharmacist for nine years. Paul graduated magna cum laude with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Samford University in May 2006.

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