Transforming a Pharmacy Department into Specialty and Telehealth
The black canvas can go from being blank and empty to full, vibrant, and history making.
transform making change

In an evolving time for Pharmacies across the nation, picture a blank canvas. You may ask why? What does this have to do with pharmacy and healthcare? I want you to take a journey with me to the small beginnings I did not despise when it came to our Pharmacy department.

Insight Hospital Chicago is the oldest hospital in Chicago. Its located on the south side of Chicago in a community where the age expectancies vary between 10 minutes of each other. The hospital is a safety net and prizes on the 340B drug program. The spring of 2022 presented the real test. Insight was 100% independent from the previous company. The pharmacy department was a blank canvas with great potential for success.

One of the first discussions was to become dually accredited as a specialty pharmacy. My physical perception of that goal was questionable. We were only an outpatient retail pharmacy servicing a lower number of the hospital and community every week. My inward perception was based on faith that all things are possible. This was the passion that drove us to achieve this vision. When it came to specialty accreditation, we decided to pursue Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) first. The blank canvas was beginning to have color now. URAC accreditation was very extensive and intense. We rebuilt and reshaped the outpatient pharmacy in many ways. The policies, procedures and workflow were targets that help to provide infrastructure to the department. Within less than one year the outpatient received approval for full accreditation with no findings. This was a mark in history for the pharmacy department and for the hospital. Who would have thought the pharmacy would be able to achieve this in such a quick time. The doors were opening now in many ways. We were now able to get access to limited distributions drugs (LDD), had the payors open more to the pharmacy which helped to support the business. The hospital also gained more awareness in the community. The canvas was becoming fuller and more colorful.

The next accreditation we received for 9 months was Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC). After this second accreditation, the outpatient pharmacy was put on the map. To become dual accredited within one year served as a success and legacy. Our Insight Chicago Pharmacy has gained more traction and notoriety. The canvas went from being blank and empty to full, vibrant and history in the making. Our pharmacy department considered the small beginnings and used that as a guide for the legacy we have now.

Telehealth is a program that has taking off with the Pharmacy at Insight. Through the Collaborative Drug Therapy Management (CDTM) program, the team is able to partner with providers and give the best patient experience. With this program in place, our prescription volume has exponentially increased from where we started. We can now firmly say the pharmacy department at Insight Chicago is flourishing. This also provides great support for the hospital, which is a big pillar in the community. The canvas is now filled and beautiful. It is diverse and versatile. It wouldn’t have gotten this way without a team. Everyone in the pharmacy department worked as a team. From the pharmacy technician to the Chief Pharmacy Officer (COP), there was communication and teamwork. This is what made the vision manifest and come to life!

To conclude, all things are possible when it comes to new beginnings. Health systems across the nation have pharmacy departments that have been long standing and already build our full workflow and operations. The question becomes, what happens when you meet a pharmacy department that is not? Where do you start on making it fully functional, unique and with purpose?  Consider the blank canvas journey that I went through and know there are open skies of opportunities. One can start with an vision and believing from within.