Pharmacy Leadership Series – September 2023 – Bonnie Kirschenbaum

To increase pharmacy reimbursements, focus on patient data
– and the stories they tell

The data that drives value-based care doesn’t just read out in ones and zeros. It tells clear
narratives about patient health that support better outcomes and increase revenue.

This month, RxLive’s co-founder and CPO, Kristen Engelen, spoke with industry leader Bonnie
Kirschenbaum about how pharmacists can use data to document the complete patient
narratives that support clinical pharmacy’s place as a revenue driver in value-based networks.
According to Bonnie, “[I]f we concentrate all our efforts on the spend and not on the income,
then we will always be in a bad financial position.” In other words, a value-based focus starts by
prioritizing revenue creation.

One solution is found “in the pharmacist’s responsibility to tell the patient’s story accurately,
completely, and through notes and documentation” in patient charts. The reason is simple:
when this story isn’t complete, it needlessly increases the patient’s financial burden.
And we agree with Bonnie: any extra burden on the patient’s shoulders is unacceptable.
Pharmacists can offer patients much needed relief. But support staff – including finance teams
– are as overworked as everyone else in healthcare. That’s why Bonnie details how
pharmacists can also relieve the burden on finance teams – just as they do for physicians and
their patients.

A cross-departmental approach pairs medication-based expertise with financial fundamentals,
blending both perspectives to improve all pharmacy programs’ revenue.
In the end, it’s a delicate yet significantly important balance. And when a missed decimal point
can mean losing hundreds of thousands of dollars, it makes sense that Bonnie sees “getting
paid as an extreme sport.”

For more about how to zipline between the two mountaintops of pharmacy and finance, tune in
to the full interview.

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.