Quality of care delivered at retail clinics
More than a decade after they began to appear in community pharmacies across the country, retail clinics have become a key provider of health care to millions of Americans. Both the number of clinics and the types of services provided are expanding, and even regional and supermarket chains are joining the trend of becoming a one-stop healthcare destination.
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The market research firm Accenture estimates that by the end of 2016 there will be 2,150 clinics in the United States, and that number will exceed 2,800 in just two years.
Forecasters said the key to retail clinics’ growth and their increased role in the country’s healthcare system will be their continual forging of relationships with other providers and ensuring that they have the technology to work closely with these other healthcare groups. Such partnerships, they noted, will allow more pharmacy operators to add clinics — as evidenced by the recent proliferation of clinics in a wider range of supermarkets and regional chains — and will help walk-in healthcare facilities take their business in a new direction. CVS Minute-Clinic and Walgreens’ Healthcare Clinic, for instance, have said they are exploring moving beyond just offering urgent care to providing more coordinated care for chronic conditions. Meanwhile, others are growing their network of clinics through a combination of corporate-owned facilities and in-store clinics operated by outside companies.
“Some delivery systems seeking to improve primary care access and manage total cost of care are using retail clinics to reduce unnecessary emergency department visits,” according to a report released last year by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, noting the growing number of alliances being formed between clinics and health systems.
“The cost of providing care for commercially insured patients has been found to be significantly lower when care was initiated at retail clinics than when it was initiated in physician offices, urgent care centers and emergency departments,” the report stated.
In fact, according to the report, slightly more than a quarter of emergency room visits could be handled at retail clinics or urgent care centers, leading to a $4.4 billion reduction in healthcare spending.
In addition, the study found that the cost of treating five common conditions — pharyngitis, otitis media, acute sinusitis, conjunctivitis and urinary tract infections — were about a fifth of what they were if patients used other providers.
Healthcare researchers and clinic proponents stress that the benefits of retail clinics are more than just a matter of dollars and cents. Payers and providers, they said, are aligning with retail clinics because they see the quality of care delivered at these locations to be as good or better than most other practice settings.
For instance, the Convenient Care Association, the trade group representing retail clinics, said that a recent analysis of clinics found that they had almost 93% compliance with quality measures for appropriate testing of children with pharyngitis versus the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set average of less than 75%.
‘With great power; great responsibility’
Jason Reiser, COO at Vitamin Shoppe
Some of life’s greatest lessons can come from the pages of a comic book. Take, for instance, Uncle Ben’s advice to his nephew Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
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“When you dig deeper, what that really means is that when you lead a group of people, you’ve got a team that’s counting on you,” explained Jason Reiser — then chief merchant for Family Dollar, just a few weeks before he would be named COO of Vitamin Shoppe — at the Future Leaders Summit, co-hosted by DSN and Mack Elevation Forum, in May. “I get all my wisdom from superhero movies,” he quipped.
Reiser talked about why purpose matters to leadership.
“My personal leadership purpose is No. 1, about making someone’s life better,” he said, a calling he first felt as a boy working in his father’s pharmacy outside of Philadelphia.
“The second part is, how do I take a team and get results through other people that I — and they — never thought possible,” he said.
To get there, Reiser outlined the 12 key characteristics of a purpose-driven leader:
- You must be willing to be unpopular. “I like to say, ‘Let’s talk about the tough decisions first,’” Reiser said.
- Give and take unfiltered feedback. “Real leaders make themselves accessible,” Reiser said. “When the door is open, do you really listen, [or] do you bite people’s heads off? Are you really approachable?”
- Don’t let data replace judgement. “Sometimes you have to go with your gut.”
- Challenge the status quo. “You want to make sure that your organization doesn’t get complacent,” Reiser said. Quoting Barry Rand, former CEO of Xerox, “If one of the people who works for you is a ‘yes man,’ one of you is redundant.”
- Always be involved in the details. “Ideas and visions mean nothing if you don’t see them on the field.”
- If it ain’t broke — fix it. Purpose-driven leaders forecast how businesses will change. “If the category is not broken today, where is it going to be five years from now?” Reiser asked. “Complacency can be devastating to a business.”
- Only the best people accomplish great things. “This is and always will be a people business. This is the thing that is killing millennials and [younger] people,” Reiser said, lamenting the reliance today on email and text messaging. “What’s lost is tone. God forbid you actually have a conversation with somebody,” he said.
- Don’t get caught up with a fancy title. “’That’s not my job;’ my dad killed that for me pretty early,” Reiser said. “I used to call those people ‘MFNs.’ ‘Money for nothing.’ If you have a ‘money for nothing’ in your organization, get rid of them. They’re a cancer [to the organization].’”
- Never underestimate enthusiasm and optimism. “I would rather have somebody [on my team] who is bullish and probably wrong, any day of the week — [being wrong] doesn’t matter,” Reiser said. “They’re enthusiastic, they bring passion [to the job], [they’re] infectious and they just might strike gold.”
- Simple solutions. “Anything that has [too much] complexity to it is not going to work,” Reiser said. “Not only that, it’s really hard to communicate.”
- Have fun. Sharing a highly personal story from his own life, Reiser urged attendees to remember the one rule that trumps all others — to have fun at what you’re doing and surround yourself with people who are able to laugh at themselves. Personal ambition might fuel you, but never lose track of the things that truly matter.
- Leadership is hard. “‘Don’t tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and let them surprise you with the results,’” said Reiser, citing the late, great General George Patton. “I always say be crystal clear on what you want and when you want it done, but be completely vague on how. The stuff that comes back will blow you away.”
Who’s your mentor?
Chris Dimos, SVP of corporate strategy and business development at McKesson
It’s not about you anymore. If you’re a great mentor, it’s not about your career development; it’s not about what you get out of the relationship. It’s all about your mentee and their personal development.
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That was the key message McKesson SVP of corporate strategy and business development Chris Dimos had for attendees of the first-ever Future Leaders Summit.
Dimos’ take on mentoring has been shaped by his leadership philosophy, which is built on five core principles — courageous leadership, called leadership, craved leadership, compromised leadership and capable leadership.
Courageous leadership “confronts the myth that one person can’t make a difference,” he said. “Kill that myth. One person can make a difference. If you’re a mentor, it can make a difference in your life and in your business.”
Called leadership, Dimos explained, means “when you’re asked to lead — you lead; you dive in with both feet.” Craved leadership is about understanding that people want to be led and using that knowledge to develop yourself as a leader.
Compromised leadership implies an understanding of the importance of integrity, as “the only person you answer to,” Dimos said. Capable leadership turns the lens inward and asks: “Do you have the right DNA? Are you working on your leadership style and are you continuing the experience [you need] to get better?”
And it is critically important to distinguish between the role of a mentor and that of a role model, Dimos explained. Mentors take an active role in the relationship, whereas a role model is someone who is observed and emulated from a distance. Role models lack one key quality that exists at the heart of any meaningful mentor/ mentee relationship — one-on-one interaction.
“If you’re going to be a mentor, it’s one-on-one,” he said. “You engage on a regular basis. It is necessary to be active in this relationship.”
Dimos, who actively works with a number of emerging young leaders, said the list of characteristics that define effective mentorship begins with the ability to listen intently and to be present during every interaction. In fact, he does not allow himself to be distracted by any electronic devices during those interactions. Also critical, he said, is the ability to meet your mentee where they are in their journey and guide them toward their goals.
“Typically, there are several questions from a mentee,” said Dimos. Instead, Dimos is the one who asks the questions. “My mentees know I’m not going to just give them the answer; they know I’m going to ask them enough questions that they get there themselves. “Indeed, Dimos knows a few things about the importance of a good mentor.
One of his first — and most important — mentors was his father, a serial entrepreneur, Dimos explained, who left a promising career to take over the family restaurant. The most important advice his father ever gave him: It’s OK to fail — as long as you’re learning.
Another of Dimos’ important mentors was former American Drug Stores/American Stores/Albertsons/Supervalu chief Kevin Tripp. Tripp, who was EVP and president of the drug store division and pharmacy at Albertsons at the time that Dimos was overseeing managed care, procurement, and systems/process redesign for the company, helped guide him through one of the most challenging chapters — and defining moments — of his career. At the time, Dimos had argued that Albertsons should opt out of California’s worker’s compensation prescription program in the face of a proposed decrease in the state’s reimbursement rate. Rather than try to instruct him one way or the other, Tripp kept asking the questions Dimos would need to answer to find his way in his face-off with then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“He gave me the fortitude to [stick it out until] California changed the Medicaid and the workman’s compensation rate,” Dimos said. “As soon as they did, we jumped back in,” Dimos said.
“Sound advice,” he added. “Trust. Listen. Help me think through the issues. A guided personal struggle — just continue to ask the right questions until you get to the right answer.”