Supply chain tip of the day: How to build a strong business case for pharmacy staffing model changes

"Although health systems have always focused on key areas — quality, cost savings, patient satisfaction — with the shift to value-based care, additional initiatives are now critical in order to minimize the impact of reimbursement changes," said Kelly Morrison, director of remote and retail pharmacy services for Cardinal Health.

A number of these new and necessary initiatives, such as medication reconciliation and discharge counseling, involve pharmacists who are struggling to allocate their time and resources, Ms. Morrison said. In many cases, tight hospital budgets keep pharmacies from hiring more staff to balance the workload. Instead, pharmacy leaders must develop creative staffing models — and build strong business plans to get senior leadership on board with them.

Ms. Morrison shared the following tip with Becker's ASC Review:

"As we think about creating your case for change, three key areas ... are common as we work with healthcare leaders across the country and [help] them build business cases, so that they can evaluate alternative staffing models when necessary.

"Focusing on patient safety and the financial impact tends to really resonate with the key executives.

"Next, analyze the impact of resources and potential missed opportunities from clinical programs and drug savings. It's not good enough, oftentimes, to show, 'Here's how we think that this will improve safety and here's the labor savings.' Labor savings is always a basic component, but [it's also important to be] looking at the cost avoidance that could be associated [with] reduction in preventable adverse drug events, for example, because you have adequate pharmacy staff making sure they're prospectively reviewing all medication orders 24 hours a day with consistent continuity of care.

"And then, benchmarking and comparing similar hospitals — and even including their ambulatory care or retail environment, if they have it — that was really an effective approach [Hartford, Conn.-based Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center] took. Because without doing that, it's really hard to prove to senior leadership [and] executive leadership why you might need additional resources."

If you would like to share a tip, please email Angie Stewart at

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