How a healthcare system alliance defends hospital-owned specialty pharmacies

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In October 2020, seven healthcare systems came together to form the Health System Owned Specialty Pharmacy Alliance, or HOSP, to advocate for specialty pharmacies belonging to the healthcare system.

The group has grown considerably since its launch, with nearly 30 health systems now participating. Here Gary Kerr, PharmD, chairman of the board of directors of HOSP and chief pharmacy officer of Baystate Health, based in Springfield, Mass., Answers questions about the group’s work and plans.

Editor’s Note: Answers have been edited slightly for clarity and style.

Q: Why do specialty pharmacies within the healthcare system need their own voice?

Dr Gary Kerr: HOSP acts as the “face and voice” of the integrated specialty pharmacy industry, defend to unite members around common industry interests and concerns. The industry needs its own voice because although there are several organizations that represent many broad interests affecting the specialty pharmacy of the healthcare system, there has not been a single organization that represents all interests. industry in one place. Our goal is to help bring the industry together so that specialty pharmacies within the healthcare system have a seat at the table and ensure their interests are represented. Having said that, we do recognize that there is great work being done by other organizations, and we have no intention of duplicating efforts. Rather, we support this work and intend to focus on areas where there are gaps.

Specialty pharmacies focus on delivering medication for more complex and chronic conditions. More than one in four specialty pharmacy is now owned by healthcare systems, a trend that continues to grow as hospitals seek ways to improve patient care. The integrated specialty pharmacy model keeps an essential element of patient care – drug management and processing – within the healthcare system, rather than outsourcing it to a more fragmented approach to care. From a physical facility perspective alone, many of these system-owned specialty pharmacies operate on campus with clinicians’ offices, share the electronic medical record with prescribers, and control all aspects of land-based messaging services.

Q: How many health systems are involved in HOSP?

GK: We have had a great first year and the membership has grown significantly year over year. We currently have nearly 30 participating health systems and we are growing rapidly. We also unveiled this fall an active campaign, now underway, to identify and embrace new partnerships beyond the core membership of specialty pharmacies in the healthcare system. the HOSP Partner Program provides a unique way for like-minded organizations to collaborate with and support our industry.

Q: What does HOSP’s collaboration with health systems look like?

GK: We do not work with health systems, but rather our membership is made up of health systems that are generally represented by the integrated leadership of the specialty pharmacies within their system. Members actively and thoughtfully collaborate to share emerging best practices, discuss innovative work processes and patient care solutions, and develop and advance a unified voice on a variety of policy issues. Members are also focused on full engagement on how to demonstrate and share the value of the integrated specialty pharmacy model, shaping the metrics aspect of the model of care.

Q: What have been the biggest accomplishments of HOSP since its launch?

GK: HOSP has done a lot in a year. We have established a very strong board of directors and have steadily increased our membership base. We have four dedicated, hard-working committees. One is the innovation committee, whose objective is to raise awareness and influence actions aimed at improving the quality of care and patient outcomes through better integration of patient management software in pharmacies. specialists belonging to health systems. They have dug deep into the patient journey to find where there are gaps that technology and other solutions could help fill. We will highlight them more in the near future.

Another committee you’ll hear about is our Health Economics and Research Outcomes Committee, which owns the work of HOSP to develop and collaborate on the most valuable data (metrics) that help promote the value of health. integrated model of specialized pharmaceutical care. Our Advocacy Committee just sent a letter outlining the HOSP and outlining our top priorities to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and senior congressional officials.

We’ve also made great strides in launching new initiatives that we’ll take forward in 2022, including our HOSP Good Practice Groups, which bring together leaders from all members to share best practices on a variety of issues.

Q: What initiatives does HOSP have planned for the future?

GK: In addition to increasing our membership and keeping our committees focused on the great work we do, we are planning an in-person event for members in early 2022. Since our launch during the COVID-19 pandemic, we haven’t met in anyone yet, so we’re very happy to finally be back in the same space.

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