When caring for patients with chronic illnesses, Academic Medical Centers (AMCs) may soon face this same risk as the now-extinct BlockBuster video rental stores. Time and technology could very well pass them by – when it comes to post-visit care. It is widely known that AMCs provide the vast majority of clinical care nationally to the most chronically-ill patient populations, including oncology, MS, infectious disease, rheumatoid arthritis, transplant, and cystic fibrosis patients. However, Fortune 50 contract pharmacies such as CVS/Caremark, Express Scripts, and OptumRx, have built a $200 billon specialty pharmacy market exclusively to care for these same chronically ill patients after patients leave the hospital.
You might be thinking, AMCs do so much more than just deal with the specialty pharmacy industry, so does it really affect me? Well at the moment you’re right, they do, but Fortune 50 companies have started to affiliate themselves with major health plans and drug manufacturers across the country meaning that companies such as Caremark, Express Scripts, and OptumRx are establishing narrow or even exclusive networks with payors and drug manufacturers. These exclusive payor networks are aligned to keep Academic Medical Centers out. This could mean bad news for AMCs across the country. Academic Medical Centers are being, what we like to call, “Netflixed” out of the market by various players and it’s important they stay ahead of the curve and adapt to the changing market of healthcare.
It’s not all disheartening though, there’s good news too! If AMCs continue to adapt to their patient’s evolving needs, their core values of care and improved patient outcomes are not at risk. In an industry that is becoming more and more about the money, Fortune 50 businesses aren’t able to replicate the ideals of long-standing AMCs. AMCs are the only providers positioned to properly and effectively care for these patients through fully integrated clinical and pharmacy care. Because of this, AMCs are in an excellent position to compete in the changing market through an AMC-owned onsite specialty pharmacy program. Through this program, AMCs could become even more valuable to patients due to the seamless therapy management that incorporates high-touch patient care interventions, customized clinical/pharmacy integration, and shared EMR access.
The healthcare market is constantly evolving and most recently there has been a demand for AMCs to integrate all care components, including clinical and pharmacy care, for their chronically-ill patients. For AMCs to remain viable in today’s current market while also providing superior patient care, they must take back control of the specialty market to improve patient outcomes and lower the overall cost of care. We would like to know what you think. What else can Academic Medical Centers do to take back patients and shift control of the market?