In the year ahead, health care promises to be a central issue in the 2020 election.
According to a report issued this week at the 2019 American Society of Health System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting & Exposition from McKesson RxO, which detailed the major trends and challenges in health care ahead, the increasing complexity of integrated delivery networks and a need for more technology and associated analytics were highlighted as major areas of focus in the year ahead and in future years.
A representative from McKesson who was at the meeting talked with Drug Topics® on these issues, noting that the McKesson suite of offerings can help address some concerns, from assisting with offering outpatient care pharmacies, to offering platforms that ease the patient journey through the hospital and into the outpatient setting.
Health system patients know they can rely on the system when they are in the hospital, and often want to utilize the outpatient pharmacies to rely on them after they go home, explained Patty Hayward, who is a vice president with McKesson Pharmacy Systems. She said the outpatient pharmacies do offer some benefits for the patient over other retail pharmacies, mainly because of the close location of the patient’s clinical care team and locations convenient to discharge.
She added that outpatient technology is streamlining the way the patient is cared for, and consequently, changing the way that pharmacists interact with their patients.
“I think [health-system pharmacists] appreciate that they can have more conversations with the patients now, saying ‘hey, you’re not compliant,’ and there’s an opportunity for them to become more and more a part of that whole care team,” she said.
While the number of hospital mergers declined in 2018, mega mergers are the new standard. This inevitable evolution is presenting challenges around clinical workflow, systems integration, and standards across care settings. The need for business partners to help networks diminish complexity and streamline operations across the continuum of care has become increasingly important as leaders work diligently to do what is right for the patient, according to Hayward and her colleagues.
Discussing the benefits of implementing outpatient technology, Hayward noted that McKesson’s data show improved patient outcomes, lowered readmission rates, increased medication adherence, and for the hospital, increased revenue in the form of additional fills per patient and more value-add programs. Additionally, she said, these technologies decrease costs, by increasing productivity and improving throughput through central fill.