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VIDEO: Health Mart marks accomplishments, looks toward future

BY DSN STAFF

Many accomplishments were highlighted and goals were set at this year's McKesson ideaShare 2016. From 50% growth over the last three years to 4,700 Health Mart stores to being recognized for superior customer service, McKesson and Health Mart executives praised owners and operators.

"We are recognized as a leader in the evolution of pharmacy," said Health Mart president Steve Courtman. "We have the scale and we have the performance. … Forty-four percent of you have metrics in the top 20%, and we are either No. 1 or No. 2 for adherence for many plans across the country."

Watch the video above to hear more of the accomplishments, and click here to view complete coverage of McKesson ideaShare 2016.

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Health Mart looks to be a partner in independents’ journey to expand clinical services

BY David Salazar

It is by now a well-established fact that the healthcare landscape is currently undergoing a massive shift from a fee-for-service to a value-based payment model, and that will create new opportunities for community pharmacy to play an expanded role in healthcare delivery, helping to drive improved health outcomes and opening up new revenue streams. The challenge for the independent owner is how to implement the host of new clinical services that will be required to participate in this expanded pharmacy care model — and where to begin.

The message from McKesson to Health Mart owners: you need not go it alone.

That is the central idea behind the new Health Mart Pathway to Better Pharmacy Performance and ProfitSM which Health Mart president Steve Courtman unveiled at the Health Mart Annual Meeting on June 28. The Health Mart Pathway — which is simultaneously a way for pharmacists to self-evaluate where they are in shifting their business model and see what resources Health Mart can offer to help achieve their goals — includes five key steps to help independent pharmacies enhance profitability and clinical performance, and demonstrate the value of their services to payers.

The third step in the Health Mart Pathway, adopting medication synchronization, can be absolutely crucial in helping independent pharmacies move toward more robust clinical offerings — from medication therapy management to immunization, diabetes centers and collaborative relationships with local providers — according to a panel of pharmacists moderated by Health Mart chief pharmacist Crystal Lennartz at the Health Mart Annual Meeting last month.

Among the panelists was Tony Willoughby, president of Texas-based Thrive Pharmacy Solutions who, at the panel — and in a separate continuing education session on the subject — noted that his practice was able to anticipate pain points among local providers and partner with them in ways that reduced the office’s workload. “Med sync allowed the provider to see the value his pharmacy could deliver even without a pre-existing partnership,” he said.

“Med sync was the door to open that up, and rather than just go in and give a presentation about all the services that the pharmacy offered, they had more of a discussion about 'What are you seeing, what are your pain points and how can I help with that?’” VP Health Mart network performance Stacey Irving told Drug Store News in a separate interview. “I think we'll see a move toward more of our pharmacies taking that approach with providers.”

But it can take time to get there, and Irving’s team, which includes three pharmacists in the field who work with Health Mart customers to guide them through the process of implementing med sync, is also identifying best practices from these hands-on customer experiences to create new tools that could benefit the broader network.

As that happens, though, Lennartz and Irving both underscored the importance of getting staff onboard in making any operational changes, especially in terms of getting a med sync program off the ground. In fact, getting staff invested in the effort was something that panelist and pharmacist-owner Josh Borer — whose Atlantic, Iowa-based Rex Pharmacy won the McKesson Pharmacy of the Year grand prize award at ideaShare 2016 — said was essential to his pharmacy’s success.

“Patient outcomes were the main focus that everyone bought into, the idea that we can actually make a difference in our community — that was true from the pharmacist to the technician to the cashiers out front,” Borer told Drug Store News. “The entire staff had buy-in because they all played a role in helping identify patients who might be a target for our med sync program. It really included everyone, and I think that was how we got through that challenge of retooling our workflow.”

Lennartz noted that in addition to using Health Mart University, independent pharmacists also can look to each other for guidance — which was the spirit behind both the Health Mart Annual Meeting panel she moderated, as well as several other peer-to-peer sharing sessions and networking events McKesson hosted as part of McKesson ideaShare 2016.

“One of our strengths at Health Mart is the peer-to-peer approach — Health Marts making other Health Marts stronger,” Lennartz said. “We can help provide a baseline of education, but then they share best practices and ideas with each other and help move each other further along.”

The advantages that individual pharmacies see through enhanced clinical performance reverberate through the entire Health Mart network.

“The vision is to not only have scale from a store count perspective, but also to build a high-performance network,” Lennartz said. “And we've been able to make strides with that — more than 44% of our Health Mart customers have one or more Star Rating pharmacy-related quality measures in the top 20%, and that has doubled for us over the last year or so. It takes time to make a change and improve performance, but the message is getting out there and the stores are activating.”

The Health Mart Pathway to Better Pharmacy Performance and ProfitSM will play an integral role in the activation of Health Mart stores and the network, which Irving said “has to do both with the resources it offers and the way it allows pharmacists to break down the task of growing their business into smaller steps — efforts that can add up to a pharmacy over a period of time that at first might be unrecognizable to an owner.

“It's a little overwhelming to say ‘Change your whole business and go to value-based reimbursement and reinvent pharmacy,’” Irving explained. “It's just too much. To hear someone talk about that scale of change, and to think about having to go it alone — that's too big. The Health Mart Pathway breaks it down into smaller, manageable pieces. … So suddenly you're operating at the top of your license, and you realize 'Wow, I’ve accomplished a lot over the last few years but it was in manageable chunks.’”

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SLIDESHOW: Wrapping up McKesson ideaShare 2016

BY DSN STAFF

McKesson ideaShare 2016 wrapped up Tuesday and Wednesday, June 28 to 29, with more CE sessions, Sunrise Sessions, peer networking events, the RxOwnership luncheon and the Public Policy Forum. The event ended with a historic bang for owner/operators and their families at the Final Night Party at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.

For complete coverage of McKesson ideaShare 2016, click here.

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