The healthcare industry has always had its fair share of buzz words and the pharmacy sector is no exception. Medication synchronization, outcomes, clinical services, medication therapy management, accountable care organizations… our conferences and publications are full of experts discussing how pharmacies can successfully participate in these new opportunities. What I find to be so interesting in this new crop of go-to phrases is they all really boil down to one common element and that is patient care.
Across healthcare right now, a common theme is how to better engage the patient. How do we empower them to make better healthcare choices? How can patients be encouraged to stay healthy? While driving in to work this morning, I saw a bench at a bus stop with a health plan ad encouraging children to brush their teeth. Similar wellness ads are covering billboards, websites and even office break rooms across the country. The focus on patient health and wellness has never been so prominent. The mass migration to electronic medical records is paving the way for robust analytics to actually measure and even predict the impact of health and wellness initiatives on patient outcomes. For decades we have tried to find a way to compensate healthcare providers for keeping patients well. Today it’s quickly becoming reality.
Generally speaking, within the mix of providers, the person patients typically interact with most often just happens to be their local pharmacist. For generations pharmacists have guided their customers on which over the counter cold medicine to use and more importantly guarded against adverse drug reactions and aided them in finding the most effective drug therapies. They have built a trust in their communities that can serve not only as a foundation but a springboard to the future.
I’m sure our organization isn’t the only one thoughtfully developing strategic plans for 2014. Congruently we’re keeping a watchful eye on both state and federal regulations opening the doors for additional clinical services in the pharmacy. Although the pace may not be as quick as we would like, in my opinion we have begun an important evolution that will continue to gain momentum. Our legislators and healthcare communities have discovered what the community has always known: That pharmacists are indeed healthcare providers with an ability to help keep patients healthy while reducing overall healthcare costs.
Emdeon EVP of pharmacy services
As EVP of pharmacy services at Emdeon, Kevin Mahoney oversees the company’s entire pharmacy services division including strategic initiatives, industry partnerships and pharmacy product development for all pharmacy products. Mahoney has spent more than 25 years in the healthcare industry with a predominant focus in pharmacy. Mahoney received a Bachelor of Arts in accounting from Belmont Abbey College and an Master of Business Administration from Pace University.