Becker's CEO + CFO Roundtable 2019: 3 Questions with Nicole Shoquist, Chief Pharmacy Officer for JPS Health Network

Nicole Shoquist, PharmD, MBA, serves as Chief Pharmacy Officer for JPS Health Network.

On November 12th, Nicole will serve on the panel "Cost Containment and Combatting Drug Shortages - Ideas from Pharmaceutical Leaders" at Becker's 8th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place November 11-13, 2019 in Chicago.

To learn more about the conference and Nicole's session, click here.

Question: What is going on right now?

Nicole Shoquist: Right now, JPS Health Network is working on strategies to combat the increasing cost of healthcare. We need to take the opportunity to build efficiencies to do more with the resources we have. Since JPS is a publicly supported healthcare system, additional revenues from taxpayers are not guaranteed and technology and automation are going to become even more important as we look for the most efficient way to deliver pharmacy services. The communities we serve are growing, the population is aging and health care needs will continue to be in demand. “Smart” operations are necessary to meet the demand without continuing to drive up prescription drug costs.

Q: What is the single most important thing you need to do in your role? (Ie: What do you have to be great at?)

NS: The most important aspect of my role is to ensure our team has all the tools, resources and information necessary to care for our patients. It is critically important to deliver the right care at the right time. We need to look at all aspects of Pharmacy Services, including clinical information, financial responsibility, efficient processes, safety and quality. Ensuring a strong team from our front-line to our leaders gives us the ability to service our patients and deliver positive outcomes.

Q: If you acquired $10 million dollars with no strings attached today, how would you invest or spend it?

NS: If I were to acquire $10 million with no strings attached, I’d ensure we invest in systems that will generate cost avoidance or revenue in excess of the initial investment. It’s no longer acceptable to spend money on brick & mortar, if the operation contained within isn’t set up to prosper for the next 10 to 20 years. In Pharmacy Services, the heaviest investments are in technology and automation. New investment should focus on building operations and clinical tools that are efficient and effective in delivering quality care.

and benefits of projects to help prioritize initiatives.
For example, everyone is paying attention to the rise in specialty drug costs. Yet often there is little a
hospital can do to lower their specialty drug spend. However, there are substantial cost savings
possible through an improved reimbursement strategy and medication utilization-based projects.
Not only would prioritizing these initiatives drive meaningful results, they also are within the
hospital’s span of control.
In addition, I find that hospital leaders can overlook the pharmacy in performance improvement
initiatives, so it is an ongoing education and advocacy about the pharmacy’s potential impact. The
pharmacy should be a center of innovation for a hospital – and innovation is key to expanding
services and improving care.

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