NewYork-Presbyterian pharmacy manager Dr. Susan Kokura on what needs to change in healthcare

Susan Kokura, PharmD, is the corporate clinical pharmacy manager at New York City-based NewYork-Presbyterian, a role she has held since July 2013.

Becker's Hospital Review recently asked her to discuss the skills pharmacy leaders need in today's healthcare climate, how to control pharmacy spend and what needs to change in the healthcare industry. 

Here's what she had to say.

Editor's Note: Responses were edited for length and clarity. 

Question: What skills are essential for pharmacy leaders in today's healthcare climate?

Dr. Susan Kokura: In today's healthcare climate it is extremely important for pharmacy leaders to be open minded with the ever-changing technology.  A leader must always think outside the box, must view each employee as an individual and must look beyond their title to embrace their other capabilities and talents. 

Leaders must realize technology can enhance efficiency and maximize a pharmacist's potential. They must be able to build confidence in their employees,  assuring them that technology will not replace their roles, but instead it will allow them to practice at the top of their licenses. Leaders should be able to identify that one size does not fit all, allowing each person to use their own talents to succeed. 

Q:  When it comes to managing drug spend, what advice would you offer other pharmacy leaders?

SK: When it comes to managing drug spend, my advice is to have a tight grip on your inventory and storage by using machines and technology.  This technology can secure the drugs so you have control over what you have on hand and can help manage what is going in and out of your pharmacy. It is also important to allow those individuals involved in the prescribing process to have a role in the inventory process. 

Q: What is one conviction in healthcare that needs to be challenged?

SK: One major conviction that needs to be challenged in healthcare is not sharing data sharing within regions.  If you have better access to data between inpatient and outpatient settings, you can have a huge impact on patient care.  For example, when a patient gets admitted to a new healthcare system, having faster access and data sharing can potentially help with medication reconciliation, allergy information and decrease redundancy in labs.  The healthcare world needs to be more collaborative rather than competitive. 

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