Becker's CEO + CFO Roundtable 2019: 3 Questions with Onisis Stefas, Chief Pharmacy Officer for Northwell Health

Onisis Stefas, PharmD, MBA, serves as Chief Pharmacy Officer for Northwell Health.

On November 11th, Onisis will serve on the panel "Key Thoughts on Controlling Pharmacy Costs" 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 Onisis' session, click here.

Question: What is going on right now?

Onisis Stefas: FDA approval of multiple new drug therapies such as genetically modified T cell therapies and the biosimilar drugs created for a referenced product has pharmacists taking on newer roles in assisting multiple disciplines to better understand not only the clinical applications of these products but the financial ones as well. Engaging medical leadership early in the process to evaluate best clinical outcomes for the patient and establishing workflow processes that include but are not limited to the executive suite, finance departments, central business offices and informatics teams are critical to success. Due to the complexity of the procurement and insurance aspects of these drugs/therapies, facilities will have to evaluate and possibly revise older business models to accommodate the changes.

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

OS: The most important aspect of my role is to ensure that we have a comprehensive strategy that includes all aspects of pharmacy from a clinical, financial and operational perspective. It is imperative that I surround myself with subject matter experts in these critical areas. Clinically to make sure that best practice and safety are on the forefront of patient care. Financial from the perspective of lowering costs with standardization of products and central processes, while monitoring the role of the central business offices in reimbursements and revenue opportunities. Operationally to ensure all the above processes can be supported from a workflow, regulatory and informatics perspective with consistency and balance.

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

OS: I would invest in developing and expanding my team in an effort to support our colleagues and the patients we serve. This would likely include building out our centralized pharmacy services, in the areas of access (e.g., benefits verification and prior authorization assistance), clinical programs (e.g., antimicrobial stewardship) and operations (e.g., central fill). These efforts would transition the administrative burden off of our frontline teams freeing up their time for direct patient care. Potential benefits include improved efficiencies, enhanced patient outcomes, and reduced total cost of care.

 

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