Motivation to Participate in the Collaborative: The Pharmacists’ Perspective

August 20, 2020
Erin Suomala and Cory Middendorf

Our contributors for this blog post are two Slice of PIE Field Experts who also have active teams participating in Slice of PIE. We appreciate their thoughts and contributions to this program.

The HealthPartners Partners in Excellence (PIE) program provides an opportunity to sustainably provide direct patient care, expand patient-centered care approaches and expand access to care through community pharmacies. Pharmacists in the PIE program were invited to participate in the Slice of PIE initiative to facilitate the development of innovative ideas to adjust care models for patients and to share resources and identify areas of improvement within the CMM Patient Care Process delivered in the community pharmacy.

There is commitment to an underlying philosophy that drives the work occurring in these community pharmacies. Our organizations are committed to providing exceptional patient-centered care and being an active member of our communities. Participation in the PIE program and PIE collaborative assists us with both commitments. Pharmacists have the potential to leverage our relationships with patients to help them manage their chronic medical conditions.

The collaborative model provides a place for collaboration and creative problem solving. We were eager to participate in this initiative. The Slice of PIE collaborative supports positive, non-competitive interactions with other community pharmacists. Cub has learned from experience that this type of forum and work leads to developing innovative ideas that can be applied to achieve patient care goals. This collaborative has delivered on all fronts.

We also know that bringing pharmacists together in this capacity is rejuvenating, leads to an opportunity to share valuable resources, and allows us to give back to our communities. Slice of PIE initiative provides a framework to consistently document targeted interventions made by pharmacists and show the effect that they may have on medical/drug spending as well as patient outcomes. The data collected from our interventions in this project will help identify potential public health and patient cost savings.

We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with a local managed care organization, especially an organization that appreciates the significant impact pharmacists can have on patient care and health outcomes. This initiative has helped us target and care for patients who may be at greater need for intervention based on risk level. It has also allowed us to strengthen our relationships with existing patients.

This initiative has already been impactful for our organization, primarily in the space of pushing us to become better versions of ourselves as health care providers. It is easy to get lost in the shuffle of day to day tasks, and focused efforts like this take us off autopilot. We have all had to make adjustments to continue to provide care during COVID-19. Through this program, we were able to help achieve or maintain patients’ health-related goals during a time when access to care was a barrier for many.

Slice of PIE is facilitating conversations around improving fidelity to comprehensive medication management. There has also been ample discussion around fidelity to the patient care process in this collaborative. This concept has become a common term or topic mentioned on our internal clinical pharmacist team calls, and that is a direct result of our engagement with Slice of PIE. We have identified areas that need attention and fine-tuning, and we are confident we will be able to provide even better patient care as we work to improve in those areas. We are challenging ourselves to improve patient care, and that positive pressure and drive is important to the health of any organization.

We appreciate the opportunity to partner and look forward to the road ahead.

Erin Suomala PharmD, Manager of Clinical Services for Cub Pharmacy
Erin graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy Duluth campus. Upon graduation, she completed a community pharmacy residency program with Cub Pharmacy and has been working for Cub Pharmacy in various roles since program completion.

Cory Middendorf PharmD, MBA, BCACP, Goodrich Pharmacy.
Cory graduated from Drake University and completed a PGY-1 Residency at Goodrich Pharmacy. Since finishing residency, Cory has focused on expanding clinical services at Goodrich Pharmacy

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