Associate Highlight | National Operations-Pharmacy

April 11, 2019

by The Resource Group

Q: Hi Jon! Let’s start with a quick introduction of yourself!

Hello! Before I accepted a full-time role with The Resource Group, I was working on developing Lean processes at a local medical center in Knoxville, TN with a focus on patient flows and reducing bottlenecks. I took these skills with me into my first role at The Resource Group as a Field Operations and Implementation Manager as well as subsequent positions. This past year I accepted the position of Vice President, National Operations-Pharmacy and am excited to start developing innovative practices to streamline Pharmacy Operations and in turn provide sustainable value.

Q: Can you discuss how and why the National Operations-Pharmacy Community was developed?

Prior to this community being created, The Resource Group’s responsibility for the Pharmacy space within our Participant sites was limited to the Strategic Sourcing functions. Earlier this past year, Ascension, The Resource Group’s parent organization, began restructuring the pharmacy communities across their health ministries. This opened a window of opportunity to expand The Resource Group’s scope into the pharmacy operations space, hence the creation of National Operations-Pharmacy.

Q: What are some of the upcoming projects and initiatives for the National Operations-Pharmacy Community?

Since we are newly developed, a lot of the work we are doing is similar to the work when The Resource Group first started standardizing resource and supply operations 10 years ago in the Med/Surg space. Our first-year projects include development of our backorder and shortage management process for the pharmacy space across our Participant sites. We are also building out a National Operations-Pharmacy playbook to determine standards for our newly formed community as well as planning for the consideration of a Pharmacy Inventory Management system. Lastly, we are dedicating time to developing a caregiver distribution redesign which will optimize pharmaceutical distribution and start to capture some initial operational savings.

Q: Why are these initiatives important?

Supply chain is the second largest spend category for a healthcare facility with pharmacy comprising almost 30% of the supply chain spend. This translates into a large area of opportunity for savings and value through areas such as purchasing controls. Unlike Med/Surg, the pharmacy space does not have any current controls on purchasing. Without controls, requestors can purchase items using budgeted dollars as they see fit, some of these items end up being wasted due to expiration or changes in caregiver needs. Increasing purchasing controls reduces this unnecessary spend as our requestors and caregivers will have more visibility into current inventory levels and in turn avoid purchasing items already available. These types of initiatives also assist in other areas such as increasing on-contract spend and reduction in care variation.

Q: What is the end-goal for National Operations – Pharmacy?

This may seem like an oxymoron, but our end-goal is to continuously adapt while remaining ‘servant leaders’. The healthcare landscape is constantly changing, this means the opportunity for value generation is also constantly changing. Pharmacy is facing unique challenges, and right now the pharmacy space is the center of attention regarding the cost of healthcare.  In the next five years, our community will be focused on removing variation from the operational aspects of pharmacy resource and supply management, so we can slowly start to ease the burden on our pharmacy caregivers and in turn have a positive impact on patient care!