This year, some of our most popular blog posts focused on finding solutions for the problems that keep you up at night. For anyone involved in healthcare, rapid changes in the industry, paired with new clinical and financial demands, have made for a challenging work life. Whether you’re a pharmacist, a provider or you work for a large health system, you need ways to be more efficient. You need ways to improve your revenue. And you need methods to offer more value to patients. We aimed to address these needs in our 2018 blogs. Here’s what caught your eye.
1. Leveraging Product Standardization for Health System Efficiency
As the entire healthcare system shifts toward value-based care, health systems need to be more efficient and reduce costs—all while providing quality care. One way to do this is with product standardization. Jon Pildis, VP of materials management, discussed how product standardization is essential for your health system’s efficiency in this blog post.
Health systems can turn to product standardization for everything from hand sanitizers to specialty drugs. “Any and every type of medical supply or piece of equipment purchased by a health system can be standardized,” Pildis said. Standardization simplifies inventory management, which improves efficiency. It also reduces costs, because you end up buying fewer supplies. And when staff can become experts at using one type of clinical product instead of several, they can provide better care to patients.
2. Complying with CMS’s New Conditions of Participation for Home Health Agencies
For home health agencies (HHAs), a major change this year involved new conditions of participation (COP) from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The new conditions outline what HHAs need to do to be reimbursed for treating Medicare and Medicaid patients. In this blog post, Maria Lugo advised HHAs on how to keep up with the new changes while staying financially secure. As the VP of post-acute care field sales, Lugo explained the benefits of things like remote health monitoring and a robust EHR system. “The number one thing home health providers can do to meet CMS’ new COP is to take advantage of technology,” she said.
3. Why the Future of Your Independent Pharmacy Depends on Patient Care
Independent pharmacists are under continual pressure to offer more value to patients while keeping a close eye on their bottom line. In this blog post, Mark DeWoskin, Pharm.D. and regional franchise director for Health Mart, tackled this issue. He stressed the importance of focusing more of your pharmacy’s efforts on patient care. “Five years from now, pharmacists will be spending most of their time on individualized patient care,” DeWoskin said. Some simple clinical services you can offer your patients include:
- Disease management
- Vaccine programs
- Point-of-care testing
4. The Right PSAO Partner Can Enhance Your Independent Pharmacy’s Performance
If you own an independent pharmacy, you already know you face unique challenges. But you don’t have to face them alone. Partnering with a pharmacy services administrative organization (PSAO) can help your pharmacy’s financial health. As Eyad Farah, VP and GM of Health Mart Atlas, explained in this blog post, “The right PSAO can help you find reimbursement opportunities and make sure the money you are entitled to is not being left on the table.” A PSAO can help you reduce direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees, review complex contracts and expand your preferred pharmacy networks.
5. Selling an Independent Pharmacy
Whether you’re facing financial hardships or simply ready to retire, sometimes selling a pharmacy makes the most sense. In this blog post, Jim Springer, the regional VP of Rx Ownership, explained how to know when it’s the right time to sell a pharmacy. Springer explained that many pharmacy owners wait until it’s too late to sell. If you wait three or four years after you first think about selling, your sales will likely be lower than they are right now. And that looks less appealing to buyers. “Prospective buyers will look at several years of financials to see what direction the business is headed before they make an offer,” Springer noted. Sell when sales are stable, and you’ll reap a better financial reward.
6. Improving Pharmacy Claims Reimbursement for Community Pharmacies
Claims reimbursement is a complex process. But many community pharmacies handle that process manually. In this blog post, Catherine Romanick, senior product manager for RelayHealth, discussed how technology can improve your claims management process. “By automating pharmacy claims management functions, community pharmacies benefit from the accuracy and efficiency of technology,” Romanick noted. The top functions you can automate include:
- Inventory management
- Dosing and packaging
- Prior authorization
7. New Drugs Require Strategic Planning for Hospital Pharmacies
As a hospital pharmacist, you want to carry innovative new drugs to help your patients. But you also need to watch your budget to stay financially secure. In this blog post, Terry Smith, RPh and VP of Studiomaca RxO, discussed how to meet both of those goals. “It’s critical to have a contemporary and well-thought-out plan by leaders and their colleagues,” Smith noted. He cited the importance of focusing on revenue-generating opportunities. These include formula management, Six Sigma processes and purchasing controls. By having a strategic plan in place, you may be able to carry more of the new drugs your patients need.
8. Empower Your Hospital Pharmacy’s Supply Chain Through Data
For hospital pharmacies, supply chain data can be a powerful tool when it comes to the drugs and supplies you have on hand. It can help you reduce costs and increase efficiency. In this blog post, Cindy Jeter, supply chain management consultant for Studiomaca RxO, showed us how automating supply chain processes can help you be more efficient and cost-effective. The data from automated technology can help you better manage your inventory, so you avoid drug shortages and prevent overstocking. “When pharmacies become more efficient purchasers,” Jeter said, “they save money and cut waste.”
9. Improving Revenue Recovery Management for Hospital Pharmacies
Revenue recovery management can be a major challenge for hospital pharmacies. In this blog post, Barbara Giacomelli, area VP for Studiomaca RxO, discussed why revenue gaps occur. She also explained what your hospital pharmacies can do to compensate for them. One of the main steps you can take is to tap into technology. You can use technology to integrate your pharmacy management system with other clinical and financial systems at the hospital. This helps reduce the number of data points within the drug purchasing process. “What hospital pharmacies need is a data-driven approach to revenue recovery management,” Giacomelli said.
10. How to Improve Revenue at Your Independent Pharmacy
Independent pharmacies need to balance delivering better patient care with lowering costs. In this blog post, Robin Page, RPh and regional franchise director for Health Mart, shared ways to increase cash flow and create new sources of revenue. One of the main ways to do this is by offering clinical services. These could include flu vaccines or health screenings. As Page noted, when pharmacists can offer services that usually come from providers, your patients and your bottom line benefit. “We need to push for provider status so we can provide additional services and bill health plans for our services,” Page explained. “With fewer independent doctors around, we know the need is there.”