Health-System Specialty Pharmacies Reduce the Chances of Dropping the Ball, Says Dr Ryan Nix

The health-system specialty pharmacy has the unique ability to coordinate better with the provider and take a team approach that reduces the chances of dropping the ball on the patient’s care.

The collaboration between the provider and the health-system specialty pharmacy creates a unique, collaborative team approach to manage the patient’s care and reduce the possibility of dropping the ball in some way, said Ryan Nix, PharmD, MMHC, senior director of operations, Vanderbilt Specialty Pharmacy.

During his session at the 2024 Asembia Specialty Pharmacy Summit, Nix discussed breaking down the siloes of health care in the specific context of the collaboration of the Vanderbilt Specialty Pharmacy. He was joined by colleagues Elizabeth Cherry, PharmD, MMHC, CSP, director of trade relations and market access, and Autumn Zuckerman, PharmD, BCPS, CSP, director of health outcomes and research, both also with Vanderbilt Specialty Pharmacy.


How does being placed within a health system provide specialty pharmacies with capabilities to manage specialty medications better?

Health-systems specialty pharmacies really have a unique capability compared to some other outside network pharmacies. Who better to manage a medication than somebody who is working right alongside of the provider? Some of our specialty pharmacists, they even work within collaborative practice agreements. So, there's a large amount of collaboration already going on with the providers.

When you're talking about from a health-systems specialty pharmacy—or any specialty pharmacy for that matter—there are a lot of barriers that these patients are facing, to stay on therapy or to get on therapy. And so that takes a lot of collaboration—regardless of who the pharmacy is—with the provider to make sure everything’s seamless, everything transitions from the provider's office to the pharmacy.

I think the advantage to the health-system model is that when all that's being handled in house, now the refill calls that we're calling on every single month and we're trying to assess, is the patient having adherence issues, are they having side effects? Not only are you collecting that data and being responsible and reporting it to whoever you need to report it to for your network requirements. But also, that full data set is available to the provider who's actually treating the patient.

We’ve just kind of consolidated it, the health care team, so that it's really a team approach. That, at Vanderbilt, I think is really our sort of tagline: we want health care to be personal. And what better way to do this than to take those sort of team approaches towards health care and saying “we're going to try to manage this within this group” because we know that that allows for you know less possibility to drop the ball on something.

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