Emerging Areas For A Successful Pharmacy Career – Specialty Pharmacy, Pharmacogenomics, Informatics

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Interview Summary

1. Tell us more about your career path, your current, and explain some of the day-to-day activities

– Started career in an academic medical center as a clinical pharmacist and faculty member, then progressed to become the director of pharmacy
– Various roles in several academic medical institutions
– Most recently spend 15 years as Chief Pharmacy Officer and – Associate Dean at the University of Michigan Health System and College of Pharmacy
– Started looking for new challenges in the past 10 years of his career
– Joined colleagues at Visante, INC and viewed this position as an opportunity to utilize the experience gained from his career to help others across the world improve their pharmacy programs
– Leads a team of consultants that works with hospitals and health systems to optimize their pharmacy and medication use processes
Visante collaborates with hospitals, health systems, managed care companies, pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare technology companies to improve the value of their offerings

2. Was the transition from academic to industry/consulting difficult?
Not as different as you may think
– Pharmacy leaders around the country deal with similar problems/issues
– Central issues include quality, cost and access among hospitals and healthcare companies

3. Could you comment on the current state of the pharmacy profession and the direction you believe it’s heading?
– Increasing recognition of the roles medications and pharmacists can play in impacting the overall healthcare system
– Biologics and specialty drugs are increasing overall healthcare spending, which is creating new opportunities for pharmacists
– Concern is that our colleagues recognize these opportunities but struggle to take advantage of them due to demand of daily responsibilities

4. Where should new graduates look for emerging roles in pharmacy and areas with high growth potential?
– Specialty Pharmacy
– Within several years, 50% of healthcare expenditure will be in the area of specialty drugs
– Increasingly larger role in our healthcare system
– Personalized Medicine/Precision Medicine/Pharmacogenomics
– How to use this information to better use, dose, and select medications to achive better outcomes
– Informatics
– Growing amount of data and the need to reduce variation in our practices
– Information systems used today are crude and underdeveloped
– Tremendous potential to improve and develop information systems that integra clinical decision support tools in a much more effective way
– Ultimately will improve cost and quality of care for our patients

5. What advice would you give to people who are interested in pursuing nontraditional pharmacy roles?
– Explore new and emerging roles, utilizing resources such as The Nontraditional Pharmacist
– Reach out and talk to people who are leading the way in these areas
– Gain exposure to understand available opportunities
– Educate yourself, as these are not taught very well in a traditional pharmacy school curriculum
– Currently starting a specialty pharmacy elective at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy
– Look into the 3 areas highlighted:
Specialty Pharmacy
– Take the initiative to network with other people that are leading in these areas
– The majority of people hold different roles later in careers compared to initial plans
– Dr. Stevenson envisioned career as a clinical pharmacist and faculty member (which is how he started)
– Initially had no interest in pharmacy administration/management, but saw opportunities
– Had to constantly learn new things along the way in order to be successful
– Important to constantly learn and be prepared for industry changes and new opportunities

Dr. Stevenson believes people who are entrepreneurial and inquisitive will have a lot of opportunity to make a mark in a new way.

Find an area that excites you, and where you can make an impact on the profession and healthcare system and patients.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on trends in pharmacy careers. Please share below!

Additional Resources (Recommended by Dr. Stevenson)
The Innovator’s DNA
Overcoming Inertia: Achieving More-Rapid Transformation of Pharmacy Practice

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