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Transforming the Hospital Pharmacy into a Strategic Asset - Rob Kulis, Cardinal Health


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Rob Kulis of Cardinal Health, a solution provider at the marcus evans National Healthcare CXO Summit Fall 2013, on leveraging the hospital pharmacy.
Interview with: Rob Kulis, SVP/GM Innovative Delivery Solutions, Cardinal Health

Published in: Business
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Transforming the Hospital Pharmacy into a Strategic Asset - Rob Kulis, Cardinal Health

  1. 1. Interview with: Rob Kulis, SVP/GM Innovative Delivery Solutions, Cardinal Health “In today’s healthcare landscape where hospitals have to deliver patient care with unprecedented focus on cost efficiency, healthcare leaders should not leave any stones unturned when looking to improve their organization’s ability to survive and thrive,” advises Rob Kulis, SVP/GM Innovative Delivery Solutions, Cardinal Health. One area that healthcare CEOs overlook is the pharmacy, he comments. “Very often health systems look at the pharmacy merely as a cost center, versus looking at it as the strategic resource it can be,” he points out. Cardinal Health is a solution provider at the marcus evans National Healthcare CXO Summit Fall 2013, in Los Angeles, California, October 20-22. How is the healthcare business landscape changing? The healthcare business has got to focus on delivering high quality care, but that is no longer sufficient for staying in business. Healthcare leaders must pay attention to market trends, regulatory r e s t r i c t i o n s a n d c o n s i d e r a l l opportunities for becoming more cost efficient and effective in achieving quality outcomes. The pharmacy is an area with great potential. Most hospitals can leverage their pharmacy and clinical team more efficiently than they are currently, elevating the pharmacy to a strategic asset that can help them in what we call the four Fs: Finding meaningful growth, Fulfilling the care mission, Fixing inefficiencies and Following the patient. There is no other asset of a care provider’s portfolio that touches patients more across the continuum of care than the team prescribing and delivering pharmaceuticals. When health systems recognize the power of the pharmaceutical distribution paradigm, they are able to influence more effectively the metrics that are meaningful to their success: quality, patient satisfaction scores, readmission rates, length of stay and so on. How would such a pharmacy differ? Traditionally, the pharmacy has been looked at as a utility, something that exists in the hospital basement or corner storefront to distribute supplies out to the nursing units or consumers, respectively. How drugs are prescribed, and how we encourage and monitor patients’ adherence has been left primarily to physicians and the nursing teams. Healthcare systems that leverage the capabilities within the pharmacy recognize that the clinical pharmacist is a key member of the patient care team with the ability to participate in clinical decision-making, and to influence prescription patterns and care pathways. This is about following patients across the care continuum, and managing drug regimens and prescriptions to improve outcomes that influence the overall cost and quality of care. What does Cardinal Health bring to the table? Cardinal Health Innovative Delivery Solutions believes that healthcare providers are in the business of “population health management.” As providers seek ways to address cost, improve quality outcomes and maintain access to care, they are going to have to enhance their ability to deliver care in the most appropriate care setting – and that includes the home. As Baby Boomers age, we are averaging 10,000 Americans every day turning age 65. Moreover, recognizing that approx- imately five percent of our population in the US drives about 50 percent of healthcare costs, we believe that focusing there is a great place to start. Managing patient populations starts with getting a handle on the optimization of pharmacy and the engagement of pharmacists as influential members of the clinical care team. Cardinal Health brings a framework for evaluating and improving pharmacy performance, and for elevating the role of pharmacists across the continuum of care. We have identified the strategic drivers of healthcare provider success and aligned them to specific, immediate actionable solutions that improve performance in the four F areas. First, it is important to assess where the hospital stands relative to peers and industry best standards, then to identify gaps and opportunities for elevating the pharmacy’s performance across the entire enterprise. For example, there are millions of patients without healthcare coverage who are unable to pay hospitals for the medication services they receive. Health systems provide millions of dollars of uncompensated care every year. However, many may not have sufficiently staffed resources to take a d v a n t a g e o f p h a r m a c e u t i c a l manufacturer patient assistance programs that can help them provide those medications for patients who qualify for free or at significantly reduced prices. Hospitals also sometimes need assistance in determining which manufacturer programs they qualify for and what documentation they need. This is about cost optimization and taking advantage of programs to address the c o s t s t r u c t u r e o f p h a r m a c y management. As another example, through the use of our remote pharmacy services, we can help provide economical 24/7 coverage of the pharmacy, and we can provide the essential bandwidth the pharmacy team needs to step out onto the floor where patient care is provided. By being out on the floor with the rest of the clinical team, they can engage in conversations, influence prescription regimens, and help lay the foundation with patients to enhance understanding and improve compliance. The ability to influence prescription decisions from name brand to generics alone could save the health system millions of dollars a year! Any final thoughts? Bring no pre-conceived notions or limitations. The opportunities for improving performance are virtually everywhere. The pharmacy is the perfect example of an area that hospitals do not focus on, but it can influence patient care significantly. Hospitals harnessing that strategic asset are seeing improvements in performance and cost reductions. Transforming the Hospital Pharmacy into a Strategic Asset
  2. 2. About Cardinal Health Cardinal Health, Inc. is a Fortune 500 health care services company based in Dublin, Ohio. The firm specializes in distribution of pharmaceuticals and medical products, serving more than 60,000 locations. The firm also manufactures medical and surgical products, including gloves, surgical apparel and fluid management products. In addition, it operates the nation’s largest network of radiopharmacies. About marcus evans Summits marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world’s leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, case studies, roundtables and one-on-one business meetings. For more information, please visit: Upcoming Events Long-Term Care CXO Summit - National Healthcare CFO Summit - National Healthcare CNO Summit - To view the web version, please click here: The marcus evans Summits groups deliver peer-to-peer information on strategic matters, p r o f e s s i o n a l t r e n d s a n d breakthrough innovations. Please note that the Summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited. About the National Healthcare CXO Summit Fall 2013 This unique forum will take place at the Westin Long Beach, Los Angeles, California, October 20-22, 2013. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The Summit includes presentations on the Affordable Care Act, hospital-physician alignment, quality measurement techniques and population health management. Contact Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager, marcus evans, Summits Division Tel: + 357 22 849 313 Email: For more information please send an email to All rights reserved. The above content may be republished or reproduced. Kindly inform us by sending an email to