Specialty Pharmacy at Akron Children’s Hospital Adds Value to Patients & Organization

Days To Fill
Specialty Pharmacy was on the minds of pharmacy leaders at Akron Children’s Hospital, a 400 bed free-standing children’s hospital. John Lepto, Director of Pharmacy, had observed other children’s hospitals making excellent gains in patient care and provider satisfaction while generating significant contributions to the bottom line. Creating a specialty pharmacy from scratch involves a lot of moving parts, from facility planning and drug purchasing to staffing and overseeing daily operations.

Lepto knew the many advantages for kids and their families of having an in house specialty pharmacy, and he and the team were determined to find a way to move this forward. Talking with other hospitals about their experiences, they followed recommendations to build a high-performing internal operation that Akron Children’s Hospital would own and manage, versus outsourcing the pharmacy to an outside firm. Lepto and the team were referred to Karl Kappeler at Visante, formerly a Director of Pharmacy at another Children’s Hospital. Kappeler brought in Visante’s specialty pharmacy expert Joe Cesarz.

Upon gaining approval, the team quickly went into action to develop a business plan with financial projections and staffing requirements. What Lepto thought could take two to three years to complete, the team was able to accomplish in just six months, adding incredible value to the hospital organization and – most importantly – providing an important service to children and families that ultimately improved patient care and satisfaction.

Visante’s unique approach included:

  • Well-developed business plan customized for the client
  • Sound financial outlook and pro forma
  • Detailed implementation plan and milestones, all of which were led by Visante
  • Top-notch pharmacy management and recruiting
  • Hiring and training of supporting staff
  • Operations setup for future expansion
  • Pharmacy informatics and analytics that demonstrated value
  • Executive leadership reporting and communication

While hiring a consulting firm was a new approach for Lepto and team, the results of the engagement were tremendous.

The specialty pharmacy exceeded performance expectations in its first year, surpassing projected volumes and margin. This will enable Akron Children’s to invest new resources into patient care and population health efforts within the community that otherwise would be difficult to fund.

The Visante team collaborated with ACH to recruit and onboard well-qualified pharmacy leaders who stepped in to manage the operation. Visante also recruited and trained medication specialists to provide these essential services.

Time to Fill: 2.38 days
Medication Adherence: 96%
Patient Quality of Life Score: 100
Promise to Deliver: 100%
Percent of Prescriptions Approved: 84%
Patient Satisfaction Score: 97.5%
Provider Satisfaction Score: 100%

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