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Health Mart helps its pharmacies get an edge

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Pathway offers road map to better pharmacy performance

SAN FRANCISCO — Health Mart’s Pathway to Better Pharmacy Performance and Profit is helping its more than 4,800 stores shift clinical pharmacy operations and performance to improve their financials and grow their business, says president Steve Courtman.

Introduced at last year’s McKesson ideaShare meeting in Chicago, the Health Mart Pathway provides a step-by-step road map to help independent pharmacies thrive in an increasingly competitive and challenging field.

Courtman says the Pathway is continuing to not only enhance the clinical and financial progress of Health Mart pharmacies, but also provide a detailed pharmacist-approved, realistic process for members to make practical changes to their business to enhance their profitability. It also recommends the resources, tools and expert advice that pharmacies need to build a successful future, he notes.

A McKesson Corp. affiliate, Health Mart provides independent pharmacies the best of both worlds — the company’s member stores retain their local identity while leveraging the recognition of a national brand. Gaining access to preferred networks with top clinical performance, getting patients into the stores and expanding services to increase revenue are the three pillars of Health Mart’s strategy to help its pharmacies gain an advantage and grow.

As Courtman likes to point out, the philosophy that distinguishes Health Mart from the rest of the field is that “health care is personal.” The Health Mart Pathway, he says, is one of the ways in which Health Mart brings that passion and innovation, powered by McKesson technology, to all of its stores, partners and ­relationships.

Steve Courtman_Health Mart

Steve Courtman, Health Mart president

At McKesson ideaShare 2017 in New Orleans this July, the main thrust for the Health Mart Pathway will be performance, Courtman says. “We’re investing a tremendous amount to help drive performance of our stores,” he emphasizes.

MyHealthMart — an online portal that enables pharmacies to proactively manage their business by providing access to personalized, up-to-date data, programs and insights — is a key complement to the Health Mart Pathway and an invaluable resource for not only boosting performance but also measuring it, Courtman says.

He also cites Med Sync, a central component of the Health Mart Pathway, as a way  Health Mart is helping its stores to enhance performance. “For Health Mart pharmacies, Med Sync is all about patient engagement and having a holistic discussion with the patient,” Courtman says. “It’s much more than just efficiency.”

Courtman views patients as loved ones, parents and friends, and he says where some view efficiency as getting patients out the door, the synchronized medication pickup is just the starting point for Health Mart.

“We proactively reach out to you. We want to know when you come in, know your needs,” he explains. “It’s providing the meds, but it’s more than that. It’s starting a conversation about the patient’s health and managing their meds. It’s much easier said than done, but with Health Mart, you know the ­difference.”

Another feature of Med Sync beyond improving patient outcomes, according to Courtman, is that the nature of the program, which is based on appointments, generates a sense of loyalty between the pharmacist and the patient and helps to further solidify relationships with other health care providers — and of course, these relationships lead to increases in profits.

Furthering the distance between Health Mart and the competition, Courtman notes, is how the Health Mart Pathway helps stores to facilitate a “shift” in work flow to enhance efficiency. “The way the industry is structured is for pharmacies to peddle faster and faster on the wheel to turn out more prescriptions,” he says. “But what the focus should be is value-based care, spending time with patients.”

Courtman understands the shift to that type of personal care — the care that Health Mart is committed to — is a difficult transition to make. But the Health Mart Pathway and tools like MyHealthMart provide a bridge to help pharmacies succeed in that change of focus, he says.

During last year’s McKesson ideaShare meeting, Health Mart hosted unique peer-coaching sessions. In these sessions, which are built on the success of town halls Health Mart hosted across the country, attendees were able to share best practices to help them create an action plan to accelerate their movement along the pathway.

Examples of how Health Mart helps its pharmacists on their journey with such programs as Med Sync are the Health Mart University Learning Experience and the Med Sync Playbook, online tools that enable pharmacies to better connect to available resources and make the most of the Med Sync program.

And these efforts are paying off, with some 40% of Health Mart stores ranking within the top 20% of performers in at least one of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Medicare Part D Star Ratings measures.

With stores in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Health Mart continues to grow, Courtman says, despite the tough challenges the health care industry presents. “I see a lot of passion in startups,” he remarks.

One challenge facing the health care industry at the moment is the uncertainty of what will happen to the Affordable Care Act under the Trump administration. But whether the ACA stays in place or is repealed and replaced, Courtman believes that performance and value-based care will still be essential to any plan.

“We’re well positioned regardless of what happens with the ACA. There’s zero anxiety on our part,” Courtman says. “No matter what happens, the patient will still be front and center of what we do and we will continue to drive toward more value-based care.”


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