What happens when: A regional hospital uses Azina® to establish and grow specialty pharmacy?
Hint: Keeping patients within the hospital on one continuum of care, lowing costs and generating new revenue streams
A regional hospital in New England asked the Azina specialty pharmacy team to help them establish a specialty pharmacy capability, starting with managing specialty drugs within their existing retail pharmacy operation, and it grew from there. The hospital knew that specialty health patient populations and related costs were growing at double-digit rates, a trend that was expected to continue, and that specialty drugs were a core driver of those cost trends. They wanted to offer clinically integrated specialty pharmacy services to their specialty health patients while controlling costs and tapping into new sources of revenues at the same time.
The Azina team expanded the existing retail operation and added a new embedded specialty pharmacy, building out across the following imperatives:
We built an operation with an initial focus on specialty drugs for HIV, Hepatitis C, gastroenterology, oncology, pulmonology, and rheumatology. As part of the Azina strategy, we made changes to inventory control to lower the total inventory value over the upcoming year. This included 340B optimization, technological and operational process changes, resulting in decreased time spent ratios, all of which led to substantially lower costs.
As the specialty pharmacy became established and more engrained into the hospital’s overall operation, Azina helped them pursue and attain dual accreditation, which was a critically important next step in the evolution of their specialty pharmacy. Dual accreditation demonstrates to payors, drug manufacturers, and other key stakeholders that the specialty pharmacy is qualified to be an important component of providing quality patient care with highly trained, expert personnel driven by effective policies, procedures, and advanced technology.
Hospital Employee Benefits:
Azina also integrated the hospital employees’ own medical benefits plan into its hospital specialty pharmacy, providing their own employees with the quality and convenience enjoyed by the patients they serve, as well as reducing a substantial amount of costs that used to go to more expensive outside third parties.
Specialty Pharmacy Liaison Engagement:
Azina aligned processes and onsite specialty pharmacy liaisons with provider engagement and patient medication education programs to improve patient regimen compliance and drive additional medication volume through the pharmacy.
This regional hospital went from no specialty pharmacy operation to sustained growth, achieving the coveted dual accreditation from two respected third-party institutions, significantly improved patient services, and exponentially greater financial performance.
- Year over year pharmacy revenue increased 45%, gross margin increased 77% with $1.0 million alone from specialty pharmacy, and daily average gross margin doubled.
- Substantial and sustained improvements across the pharmacy operation, such as: Average Time to Fill at just 2.09 days; Total Calls Answered in Less than 20 Seconds at 97.14%; Call Abandonment Rate at just 0.8%; and for retail the Average Daily Volume was 320 scripts over the prior year.
- In addition, by implementing their hospital employees into their own specialty pharmacy, the health system saved approximately $500,000 last year.
What's Next For This Hospital:
With a strong specialty platform in place, the Azina team is pursuing numerous operational imperatives to continue to improve patient care and outcomes, operational efficiencies, and financial performance:
- We are designing, building, and launching a standalone specialty pharmacy that will help keep pace with the overall hospital’s growth and specialty care needs.
- The successful provider/patient liaison program is being expanded to further improve patient medication adherence and provider engagement with the hospital’s specialty pharmacy.
- Key large payor contracts with the specialty pharmacy are in play, which will expand patient access to specialty medications and exponentially increase volumes and financial performance.
- Azina is aligning data with drug manufacturers in support of access to critically important limited distribution drugs (LDDs).