It’s that time of year again when many parents like me will huddle around the baseball field to watch their kids enter the exciting world of T-ball. The fundamentals of baseball are thrown onto the field by coaches, umpires, and fans in hopes that a few might be absorbed by the unsuspecting children. It’s a significant challenge considering the butterflies, sandcastle material, and funny hats that easily captivate a 5-year-old. But it’s game time! Uniforms are on the kids, their gloves are on their hands (sometimes), a batter is at the plate, and the ball is on the T.
There’s just one problem – no one really understands what happens next. The game has no scoreboard, no strikeouts, no real accountability for performance, and no good answer to your son on the way home when he asks, “why don’t we keep score?..I think we won!”
That’s the moment it hit me (pun intended)! The Specialty Pharmacy industry can learn a lot from T-ball:
We Need to Practice. Sports aren’t designed to be easy. Hard work and preparation will always be the keys to success on the playing field. Commitment is my favorite term to capture the essence of what practice will pull from each of us. The question that burns inside us all: do we have what it takes to go above and beyond to win? Healthcare is evolving rapidly, and it is critical that Specialty Pharmacies find better ways to bring value to the overall care continuum. The fundamentals of great pharmacy practice remain the same, but the need for innovation in today’s environment demands a new level of commitment.
We Must Listen. Noise overwhelms the T-ball field. Grandma even gives approval of her grandson’s last swing at the T. It is difficult to focus on what’s important with all the noise, but this is often when a coach is the key. The patient voice, one of our best coaches in healthcare, can easily be heard today if we take the time to listen. Google “patient experience” (24,600,000 search results) and you will be overwhelmed with new ways aimed at improving patient-centered care. Specialty Pharmacies must do a better job of listening to both patients and providers. We can deliver a tremendous amount of value if we actually hear what our customers are saying. As healthcare is getting more and more sophisticated, so should our listening skills. Enter Pharmacy Patient Experience (RXPX).
Let’s Compete. Competition is the way of the world. Navigating it only gets more complex and challenging after T-ball. Specialty Pharmacies currently have an interesting relationship with competition, too often looking at it as a threat instead of an opportunity. The industry must embrace the value of innovative competition in order to continue improving health outcomes. Yes, this means some of us will lose a game along the way. However, the patient will always win the series when pharmacies compete for better ways to deliver quality care.
We Need a Scoreboard. Even my 5-year-old wants to know the score at T-ball. If I play the “Go-Fish” card game at home, my 3-year-old is trying to win. Where is our scoreboard? Specialty Pharmacies need to be competing on a common scoreboard that all stakeholders (Patients, Providers, Payers, and Manufacturers) can see. You win if you’re the best, and you find ways to improve if you’re not. It’s questionable to market being the best at something if no data exists to support the claim. Stop taking the easy way and finally commit to MEASURE IT!
Whattya say? Let’s play ball!