President's Message - Time to Innovate

by Charlene Hope, PharmD, MS, BCPS, ICHP President
November 14, 2016

I want to thank Immediate Past President, Jen Phillips, for the dedication, passion and enthusiasm that she brings to ICHP. Her contributions are invaluable. I know that over the last year, I found myself instilling her theme and philosophy of “Leadership, It’s Not Just for Leaders!” to the pharmacists that I work with on a daily basis.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank each of you for the great honor of serving as the 53rd President of Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists. After I first became involved with ICHP as a student leader of the Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy Student Chapter, I don’t think I ever imagined that I would one day serve as President; especially, when at the time the members of the executive board looked nothing like me.

However, it was what I had in common with this dynamic group of men, whose passion and dedication to hospital/ health-system pharmacy practice and whose vision of what ICHP could accomplish in advancing the profession, by promoting the role of the hospital pharmacist that inspired me to become actively involved. Throughout my career, regardless of where I have worked, ICHP gradually became and remains my pharmacy home.

A few memories from over the years came to mind as I was preparing for today’s address. The first time I attended the ICHP student leadership retreat, it was held at the Chicago Botanical Garden and it was also the first time I went to the Ravinia Festival and ate at Ed Debevics. My most favorite memory is, and she probably does not remember this, at one of my first leadership retreats – Ann Jankiewicz showed me this brand new browser called Google and excitedly shared with me how it was way better than Yahoo in finding information on the internet. Last night, Mary Ann Kliethermes and I reminisced over the time that she and Janet Teeters ventured down to Chicago for a planning meeting that I hosted for them in my walk-up apartment when I first moved to the city. And a couple of years ago, right here at the Annual meeting, Mike Fotis shared his words of advice and support as I was contemplating a challenging situation at work. It’s these moments and friendships (old and new) that I have developed over the years that keep me connected and committed to ICHP and its continued success.

Professor Shalowitz’s syllabus was the most interesting one I had read in the long time. The level of detail of the 12-page document accounted for every possible scenario he has probably ever encountered with a student. I remember thinking to myself, if this is his syllabus, passing his class was not going to be a walk in park. Fast forward to the first day of class making sure I was sitting in the first three rows as his syllabus instructed, he introduced himself and started his lecture with slides of the most beautiful pictures of sculptures and paintings and how they related to healthcare. And while the beautiful pictures were soon replaced with charts, graphs and clippings from the media; there was a theme that he had for the course and he continued to repeat throughout. “There is nothing new in healthcare and what is old will become new again.” Remembering this, I decided for this inaugural address I would read some addresses and the themes of the Presidents that came before me spanning about 10 years.

Mike Weaver, in his 2006 presidential address; spoke of the role of technology, legislation and regulations; all of which he stated were going to start to have a major impact on pharmacy and the healthcare industry as a whole and were only going to continue to further expand and involve.

Chris Rivers, in her 2011 presidential address spoke of the complexity of our lives at home and at work and the challenges of fitting all that we want to achieve, personally and professionally, into the limited time that we have over the course of the days and years of our lives.

Avery Spunt and Ann Jankiewicz spoke to themes of staying vigilant and fighting complacency.

The challenges facing us as individual pharmacists, our departments and practices, and the profession as a whole remain the same and over the years with advancing technology and increasing access to data seem to introduce more and more complexity. So, I too, agree with Professor Shalowitz, there is nothing new in healthcare.

In this current era of Healthcare Reform and increasing focus on Healthcare Quality and Safety to the gradual transition in reimbursement models from fee for service to value-based payment, the pressure is on for us, as pharmacists, to start taking greater accountability and focus on connecting the positive impact that we make every day on the outcomes and experiences of our patients; and making the connection to the cost of providing those services. Dr. Manasse, in his general session address yesterday, spoke to this point. Becoming healthcare providers and having our names listed in the Medicare roster is only half the battle. The other is related to reimbursement and defining what our services are and how much those services are deemed to be worth. In today’s healthcare climate, we need to match the level of our clinical expertise with our business acumen and understanding the business of healthcare which also is NOT just for leaders.

Our mission, if you choose to accept it, is to actively participate in redesigning healthcare delivery. Where do pharmacists fit in this new healthcare delivery system and how do we contribute to the value of the healthcare? The challenge still remains on how much we should charge and get reimbursed for our services yet, the opportunities are abundant.
  • Hospital Readmissions - $ 41.3 billion opportunity
  • Poor Medication Adherence - $290 billion per year opportunity
  • Opioid Medication Misuse and Abuse - $72 billion per year opportunity
  • Adverse Drug Events - $6 million per hospital opportunity
Not too long ago, ICHP celebrated its 50th anniversary. Take some time to imagine, what actions we will need to take today for ICHP to remain a strong, vibrant, financially strong organization through the next 50 years? The title of a popular leadership book by Marshall Goldsmith comes to my mind – What got you here, won’t get you there. How do we get “there” – working on the numerous opportunities, navigating our challenges and advancing our profession? Through INNOVATION, my presidential theme for this upcoming year.

In the field of patient safety, we often look at industries outside of healthcare and adapt safety practices from those industries and apply them in healthcare. Chicago is the home of numerous healthcare start-up company incubators. Start-up company incubators are a place for new companies full of entrepreneurs to learn the skills to become larger, successful companies. I want to challenge us to adopt three skills of start-up entrepreneurs who live and breathe innovation.

1) Courage.
What’s the biggest impediment to innovation within an organization? Fear. As early as 2004, research from Elizabeth Wolf Morrison and Frances J. Milliken for the Academy of Management Review and Stern Business pegged fear — and the resulting silence when employees operate within a culture of fear — as the biggest roadblock to innovation. So we must take heart and Be Bold as Mike Fotis encouraged us to do in 2013.

2) Adopting “failure” as a synonym for “learning opportunity”.
“Fail fast and fail often” is a common mantra of entrepreneurs. Failure is not a word that we as pharmacists ever want to hear – priding ourselves on asking all possible questions and considering every possible scenario with attention to detail, ensuring that all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed before launching a process change or new initiative. But this mantra really serves as a reframing of failure from a personal fault to learning and improving on a continuous basis. With technology and business cycles moving so quickly, our departments and respective organizations no longer have the luxury of waiting a year or more to launch a new service or performance improvement project.  

3) Creativity.
Creativity is something we often equate with actors, singers and fashion designers. The truth is we all have the capacity for creativity. Creativity is a function of knowledge, curiosity, imagination, and evaluation. The greater your knowledge base and level of curiosity, the more ideas, patterns, and combinations you can achieve, which then correlate to creating new and innovative products and services. But merely having the knowledge does not guarantee the formation of new patterns. The bits and pieces must be shaken up and iterated in new ways. Then the embryonic ideas must be evaluated and developed into usable ideas. In other words, there really is a process. And who knows processes better than pharmacists?

How many of you have taken an Uber or booked accommodations through Airbnb? What can we learn from these disruptive, innovating companies? Perhaps, I can make the case that we work on disrupting our own industry. To me, no industry (including healthcare) is immune to disruptive innovation. What’s on the horizon?

Drug auto verification of medication orders – while most recent studies revealed pitfalls, remember that technology grows exponentially. Clinical surveillance technology – MedCPU program compiles data from free text and structured fields within your organization’s eHR, interfaced with the hospital formulary, your hospital’s workflows, protocols and best practices (including that of the pharmacy) and identifies gaps in care and provides the prescriber customized therapeutic options in real time.

We have to be able to adapt quickly and collaborate with all members of the team and take the lead in any opportunities or setting where medication management is needed. We cannot afford to wait to be asked to participate in programs that we know would benefit from the expertise of the pharmacist.

This is what I believe…
I believe in the power of diversity.
I believe in the power of our ideas.
I believe in the power of our ability to choose our own destiny.

I invite you, the leaders, staff and members of ICHP to join me on this journey, because ladies and gentlemen, it is time for us to innovate.

Thank You.

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