Research

Elevating Pharmacy Leadership to Meet System Goals

Healthcare delivery has changed, and so has pharmacy. Safe medication use and dispensing inpatient drugs were once the sole focus of pharmacy services. Now, pharmacy services have evolved to span the continuum of care, generate a significant portion of health system revenues, and make contributions critical to achieving cost and quality goals.

Although pharmacy services have changed, pharmacy leadership structures remain stuck in the past. Many health systems have not invested in their system-level pharmacy leadership. This leaves pharmacy leaders unable to effectively contribute to and execute on strategic initiatives. To achieve health system goals, progressive organizations are creating a chief pharmacy executive role.

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Here’s a preview of our answers to these four key questions:

Which organizations are creating a chief pharmacy executive role?

  • Progressive health systems that aspire to succeed in the changing healthcare landscape should create a role for a pharmacy leader at the executive level.
  • Organizations focused on care transformation, system growth, and network optimization are most likely to establish this role.

Read more about these organizations on p. 10.

What are chief pharmacy executives’ responsibilities?

  • They are responsible for creating and executing strategic plans to ensure high-quality pharmaceutical care and to maximize returns from pharmacy investments.
  • Their work spans the care continuum, and across responsibilities such as pharmacy supply chain management, budgeting, and collaborating with clinical leaders for care standardization and integration.

Read more about the executive’s responsibilities starting on p. 11.

What type of organizational structure do chief pharmacy executives need to be effective?

  • An organizational structure that empowers leaders to work toward high impact goals includes: a reporting relationship to the C-suite, a reduced number of direct reports, accountability for all pharmacy-related operations, and support from a system-level pharmacy leadership team.

Read more about the four key characteristics of effective organizational structures starting on p. 13.

Who should you consider to fill this role?

  • The chief pharmacy executive should be a results-driven leader with strong business acumen and cross-continuum pharmacy experience.
  • Strong leaders bring an entrepreneurial mindset and the ability to clearly communicate pharmacy’s value.

Read more about key competencies of pharmacy executives on p. 16.

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