Pharmacy Leadership Series – Heather Brooks

A disciplined, data-driven approach to 340B

This month, we spoke with Pharmacy and Quality leader Heather Brooks about how organizations can take a disciplined, data-driven approach to managing 340B programs. 

Due to regulatory-driven financial constraints, many hospitals and organizations are deciding whether to eliminate non-essential services. Unfortunately, what these organizations view as “non-essential” can mean trouble for patients and the care teams focused on better population health outcomes.

As Heather notes, such services are “typically the ones that are improving patient outcomes but aren’t necessarily reimbursed in a fee-for-service structure. As they begin to cut those non-essential services out, the health of the patient will naturally decline” because they don’t have necessary – yes, essential – services.

When patients aren’t healthy, value-based care organizations aren’t reimbursed. So along with being bad for patients, this reality is increasingly damaging providers financially, too. It’s a vicious cycle: as population health declines, revenues decline – limiting resources and depressing health outcomes even more.

Well-managed, impactfully-utilized data offers a solution. With the right patient data, you can easily see the impact to a service, the reason to keep it, and the role that service plays in your overall organization.

But managing this data is an all-hands-on-deck project. “It’s important to remember,” Heather reminds us, “that many healthcare sites aren’t large enough to have their own data and analytics department.” That’s why outsourcing and smart partnerships are so important.

A patient might receive a prescription for the best medication on the market, “but if they can’t afford it, it’s not going to do any good. “Pharmacists,” says Heather, “have to ensure that patients do have access to the medication, that they can afford it, that their insurance covers it.”And then once patient access is assured, “pharmacists…can guide them through the therapy  such that they understand how to administer it, how to take it, how to remember to take it, and how to integrate that therapy into their lives.”

Kristen Engelen, PharmD
Kristen Engelen, PharmD, is the chief pharmacy officer of RxLive and a certified consultant pharmacist; she has over a decade of experience in retail pharmacy settings. Kristen became an RxLive co-founder because of her passion for geriatric pharmacy, with a focus on the intersection of pharmacy and aging.