2020 ASAP Recap: Trends and Topics Every Pharmacy Should Have on Their Radar

Events, Healthcare, Pharmacy

January 23rd, 2020

Check out our 2020 ASAP recap to learn about the trends and factors impacting the ecosystem of pharmacy and healthcare. Be ready for change!

2020 ASAP Recap

Last week, InfoWerks attended the 2020 American Society for Automation in Pharmacy (ASAP) Annual Conference. As a sponsor of the event and longtime ASAP member, these conferences offer us the chance to learn about what’s impacting pharmacy and healthcare right now. We’ve put together a quick 2020 ASAP recap with important insights that stakeholders should keep on their radar.

Several hot button topics were on the agenda this year, including pharmaceutical trends, pharmacy consumerization, USP <800>, medication access, the impact of Amazon, pharmacy’s expanding role, medication adherence, and how data is driving change in healthcare.

Pharmaceutical Trends

Trends in pharmacy are critical to identify, so all stakeholders understand where the market is and where it’s heading. Some trends of note include:

  • Rapid growth in specialty pharmacy driven by more chronic diseases and treatments for those
  • U.S. NAS launches are trending up
  • Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) approvals have reached record highs, but withdrawals are up, too
  • Average number of retail store fills per quarter is 22,000
  • Patient deductibles and coinsurance have increased since 2013

USP <800> Update

USP <800> has evolved and has new compliance measures for pharmacy to consider. All hazardous drugs should be removed automated counting machines and pill counters with the exception of RxSafe 1800© and EyeCon©. To adhere to this regulation, pharmacies need to:

  • Create an inventory of hazardous drugs
  • Perform a risk assessment
  • Segregate hazardous drugs
  • Provide access to spill kits and Safety Data Sheets 
  • Establish training for staff
  • Document standard operating procedures

Why Healthcare Was Ripe for an Amazon Disruption

Amazon has made billions of dollars by finding opportunities. Healthcare is an industry that lacks efficiency and is infamous for its wasteful spending. Transparency in healthcare has become vital to its transformation. Amazon partnered with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan to focus on tech solutions that could simplify healthcare for their employees and reduce costs while improving care. The main objective was to remove the middlemen in the process. 

The partnership has now become Haven Healthcare, which has a vision to initiate common-sense fixes and innovation. The group also states it is “free from profit-making incentives.” Right now, their main focus is to reduce pharmacy costs and provide more access to primary care. 

In September of 2019, Amazon debuted Amazon Care, which is a virtual primary care provider. It includes telemedicine, online chatting with nurses, medication delivery, and the ability to have a clinician make a home visit. 

Amazon and PillPack

On the pharmacy side, PillPack is increasing market share due to its convenience and simplicity for patients in receiving chronic meds. There have been some snags along the way. PillPack has accused retail pharmacy of disregarding patient requests to switch, which they deny. CVS and Walgreens responded by sending cease-and-desist letters and alleging that patient privacy was being compromised. 

In recent months, PillPack collaborated with Omnicell to send automated messages to patients to remind them to take their meds and reorder. They have also made a deal with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts that will include an integration in the insurer’s app. 

It may seem daunting to compete with Amazon, as so many retailers have been taken down by the e-commerce giant. However, pharmacies can offer the same convenience of free delivery and dose packaging while also positioning themselves as medication experts that are there to answer questions and provide assistance. 

Pharmacy Moves to Take on a Bigger Role in the Healthcare Ecosystem

Many retail pharmacies are partnering with other organizations to expand their role in the lives of patients. This includes urgent care clinics, dietician and nutrition services, lab testing, and telehealth. 

Medication Adherence Benefits all Stakeholders

Medication adherence is still a major challenge in the U.S. Many circumstances contribute to this, including accessibility and costs. With pharmacies taking a more active position in medication adherence, everyone benefits. 

Patients have better health and fewer ER visits or hospitalizations, which reduces costs for all parties. With better adherence come better outcomes. Patients are able to manage their ailments, reducing the impact and strain on the healthcare system in general. One of the most important ways to do this from a pharmacy perspective is to offer and promote 90-day fills

Pharmacy Consumerization

ASAP 2020 recap

All of healthcare is having to pivot to consumerization. Consumers have new demands as well as more choices. Pharmacies can cater to consumers by:

  • Counseling patients with chronic diseases
  • Assisting with medication therapy management
  • Increasing the clinical role of pharmacy
  • Offering medication synchronization 
  • Providing more convenience for customers (i.e., rapid pickup or delivery)
  • Delivering options for reduced costs through discount cards

Key Drivers of Change in Healthcare

There are a host of factors that are impacting healthcare and driving change. An aging population and the fact that people live longer than they did decades ago are two aspects requiring healthcare to adapt. There is also a rise in chronic diseases, and new medications are being approved to treat those. 

One of essential elements affecting the landscape of medicine is data. Healthcare organizations collect, share, and analyze data in massive amounts. This data spurs innovation, but it also requires special care related to regulatory requirements. Further, technology is creating many opportunities to be more efficient and accurate; however, there are still many challenges related to data portability, accessibility, and interoperability. 

Pharmacy and healthcare will continue to see significant changes and shifts in the next year. It’s a new frontier in the industry—one that’s greatly dependent on data. InfoWerks is a healthcare data expert, delivering solutions that allow you to make the most of our data. Check out the solutions we offer, and thanks for reading our ASAP 2020 recap. 

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