Letters to House Ways and Means Subcommittee underscore pharmacy value
WASHINGTON – Reps. Todd Yong, R-Ind., and Ron Kind, D-Wis., issued statements this week to the United States House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health in support of pharmacists having a larger role in health care as part of a hearing on legislation to improve and sustain the Medicare program, the American Pharmacists Association reported Thursday.
The Congressmen’s statements add fuel to feedback that the APhA provided to the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health earlier this month on how to improve and sustain the Medicare program. APhA referred to pharmacists as a valuable, but often overlooked, member of the health care team and strongly urged for support of H.R. 592 and the companion legislation in the Senate, known as S. 314.
Rep. Kind, an original cosponsor of the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592), highlighted the many services pharmacists provide within their scope of practice beyond the safe distribution of medication.
“They conduct health and wellness screenings, manage chronic diseases, provide medication management, facilitate care transitions and administer immunizations,” Kind noted. “This legislation would allow the pharmacists serving medically underserved communities to be reimbursed for the services they provide.”
Similarly, Rep. Young shared his support for H.R. 592 and awareness of the increasingly important role that pharmacists play in the delivery of services, including key roles in new models of care beyond the traditional fee-for-service structure. “In addition to medication adherence services such as medication therapy management, pharmacists are capable of providing many other cost-saving services, subject to state scope of practice laws, including health tests, helping to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease and expanded immunization services,” he said.
Young added that the “lack of pharmacist recognition as a provider by third party payors, including Medicare and Medicaid, limits the number and types of services pharmacists can provide, even though fully qualified to do so. H.R. 592 will allow Medicare Part B to utilize pharmacists to their full capability.”
Congressman Young closed his letter with a key message: “This legislation would lead not only to reduced overall healthcare costs, but also to increased access to healthcare services and improved healthcare quality.”
“We are thankful that Representatives Young and Kind took the time to write statements in support for the roles that pharmacists play on the health care team,” stated Thomas Menighan, APhA EVP and CEO. “Millions of Americans lack access to health care and with nearly 86% of Americans living within five miles of a pharmacy, pharmacists are well positioned to help improve patient access and quality while decreasing costs.”
Is it inspiration or perspiration? Innovation as a repeatable process
Companies large and small all want “innovation,” although most organizations don’t have a concise definition of the term or how to achieve it. The myth of innovation is that brilliant ideas leap fully formed from the minds of geniuses. The reality is that innovation is a repeatable process. And while “process” sounds like the boring antithesis of innovation, companies that focus on innovation process are more likely to achieve innovation than companies waiting for innovation to randomly strike.
Achieving innovation is the result of a repeatable process that requires the use of the following steps.
Step 1: Employing targeted ideation to generate relevant solutions to unmet needs. Best-in-class innovation requires input in the form of a clear strategic context, the establishment of a creative culture and an understanding of unmet needs. Only then can the organization efficiently stimulate ideas.
Idea stimulation is an ongoing and, therefore, time-consuming process that requires significant external thinking: development of innovation networks, establishment of collaborations with suppliers and universities, actively maintaining an awareness of trends in competitive and related fields, attendance at conferences, etc. There is no “one size fits all;” even the smallest organizations can achieve greater ideation by engaging more “outside the box.”
Step 2: Understanding and selecting the most valuable ideas via development of an objective portfolio management process. Research has shown that most innovative companies also are the most ruthless at culling down ideas. Ultimately, the projects that a company selects to move forward are investment decisions, and innovative companies progress the best ideas that will deliver the greatest value for the resources required to implement them. This assessment requires an evaluation of the project’s likelihood of success and value. Rather than using a sales measure, the true value of a project resides in the difference between the “do something” and the “do nothing” scenarios — innovators need to be willing to obsolete themselves, and this measure enables an “apples to apples” comparison across different project types. Once the most valuable projects have been determined, the organization also should ensure that the portfolio is balanced — across a range of innovation types, brands, launch years, etc.
Step 3: Utilizing an effective and efficient project management process. An innovation process can’t be deemed successful if the valuable ideas can’t be brought to fruition. Detailed plans and clear roles and responsibilities are required. Scope creep must be aggressively managed (or the project reassessed). Best project management practices also include the identification of risk and the early mitigation or elimination of potential issues.
Thomas A. Edison, arguably one of the greatest American innovators, once said: “Unfortunately, there seems to be far more opportunity out there than ability. We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.” Implementing a robust, three-step innovation process can certainly increase the likelihood that organizations will efficiently implement the most valuable new ideas to drive success.
Susan B. Levy is founder and principal of Susan B. Levy Consulting, a boutique consulting firm that works exclusively with consumer healthcare companies to develop and implement growth strategies. A CHPA associate member, Susan B. Levy Consulting’s engagements include acquisitions and divestitures, technology search, Rx to OTC switch, geographic expansion, brand management and marketing initiatives. For more information, visit: susanblevyconsulting.com