HealthTrust recently established the nation’s first corporate-based training program for up-and-coming pharmacy leaders, providing early career exposure to critical business functions, value-based purchasing and the economic realities of modern medicine, including better management of limited healthcare resources.

The pharmacy profession has been short on qualified leaders for some time now, particularly when it comes to vital non-clinical functions such as budget planning, financial reporting, and negotiating contracts for pharmaceutical products and equipment. Training of this type is marginal at best in most doctorate-level pharmacy curriculums as well as healthcare administration residency programs focused more on facility-based operations and management. By default, positions for pharmacy leaders tend to be filled by either the most senior pharmacy practitioner willing to jump into the role or someone with managerial experience in another field entirely.

The only way to truly understand how pharmacy sourcing and strategic business decisions are reached is to spend time working in a corporate healthcare environment. With that in mind, HealthTrust, in partnership with theUniversity of Tennessee College of Pharmacy, launched a residency program with a specialty focus on corporate pharmacy leadership to help address the deficit.

The one-of-a-kind program trains pharmacy practitioners early in their careers by placing them in residence for one year at HealthTrust headquarters in Brentwood, Tennessee. HealthTrust’s program is a postgraduate “year-two” residency for program participants (aka PGY-2). They will have already completed their doctorates in pharmacy (six to eight years) as well as a first-year general practice residency (PGY-1) at a hospital or other pharmacy practice site.

Through HealthTrust’s clinical advisory board process, residents have the opportunity to interact with corporate leaders in pharmacy, nursing, laboratory and radiology from member health systems—mirroring the type of multidisciplinary exchanges that happen on the committee level within a hospital or other healthcare setting. They also gain experience working with pharmacy suppliers engaged in the request for proposal process, participating in meetings and live demos of product features.

The ultimate goal is to successfully prepare residents for future employment. And, the program’s first resident has already had success. Nicolle Rychlick, PharmD, completed her PGY-2 residency at HealthTrust in July of this year. She was hired by HealthTrust when a position opened in the Pharmacy Services Department for a Clinical Integration and Implementation director.

Meet Year-Two Program Resident

The program’s current resident is Bradley Bruce, who earned his pharmacy degree at the University of Missouri at Kansas City; completed his PGY-1 training at Henry Ford Hospital; and is working on an MBA from the University of Michigan at Flint. In addition to his involvement with HealthTrust advisory boards, Bruce helps manage clinical initiatives through HealthTrust Pharmacy Services, including biosimilars and antimicrobial stewardship. At the annual HealthTrust University Conference, he reviewed pharmacy-related education programs and engaged in valuable one-on-one time with HealthTrust members and suppliers during post-conference meetings and the vendor fair.

As part of the residency, participants also join an accelerated version of HealthTrust’s Leadership Development Program, which includes public speaking opportunities, a personality assessment, “HR101” classes and dialogue with key executives. On a monthly basis, Bruce meets with members of the company’s senior executive team, such as Senior Vice President of Strategic Sourcing Jocelyn Bradshaw, to discuss trending healthcare business topics. This is in addition to fulfilling his required teaching responsibilities as adjunct faculty at the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy; completing research on the impact of pharmacy supplier consolidation on drug costs; and elective rotations at a local hospital where he works side by side with pharmacy automation and informatics specialists.

According to Marcus Dortch, PharmD, FCCM, BCPS, director of Clinical Pharmacy Services and the Corporate Pharmacy Leadership Program for HealthTrust, “Our program is designed to go beyond a traditional pharmacy learning experience. In addition to leadership training, residency participants are immersed in value-based purchasing and the economic realities of modern healthcare. They also benefit from the unique networking and learning opportunities that come from working with a diverse range of subject matter experts within a total cost management organization such as HealthTrust, as well as from exposure to corporate pharmacy leaders, clinicians, supply chain professionals and healthcare executives at member healthcare systems—including some of the nation’s largest and most accomplished IDNs.”

HealthTrust’s Corporate Pharmacy Leadership Program is currently under review to become accredited by theAmerican Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), certifying that it meets established standards and criteria for residency training programs.

“The broader goal is for this program to inspire others like it—helping to ensure that academia, healthcare and business actively collaborate to prepare the next generation of qualified pharmacy leaders,” Dortch adds.

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