Elevating the Strategic Impact of the Chief Pharmacy Officer

Nicole Faucher, President
November 29, 2023

Pharmacy is evolving from a centralized, necessary system to a strategic and innovative partner across organizations, with the potential to deliver patient-centered services that create new and reliable revenue streams — and chief pharmacy officers (CPOs) have a key role to play. 

Over the last few years, rising costs of medications, increased complexity in the administration of new therapies and industry consolidation has catapulted pharmacy and pharmacy leaders as the dynamic drivers of many decisions of a health system. With the elevation of pharmacy services comes significant opportunities for CPOs to effect change in their organizations. They centralize pharmacy services, look for ways to increase utilization of sometimes overlooked areas of pharmacy and connect the clinical and business strategies for the health system.

In a live webinar this week with Becker’s Hospital Review, I moderated a panel of pharmacy leaders and industry experts including Eric Balmir, MS, PharmD, CIM, vice president of clinical ancillary services and chief pharmacy officer at Children's National Hospital; David Twitchell, PharmD, MBA, vice president and chief pharmacy officer at Boston Medical Center Health System; and Mo Kharbat, RPh, MBA, FACHE, vice president of industry affairs at Clearway Health.

A few highlights:

“Pharmacy is driving many decisions at the health system level across the United States,” said Twitchell. “We need a pharmacy executive to help lead us and shape our strategy to address cost, realize revenue and margin potential and improve value-based care for patients.”  

“A hospital without a pharmacist at the C-suite could hurt the whole system. It’s crucial,” said Balmir.

“This year alone, 88 new drug entities and biologics were approved by the FDA, so the sheer volume of pharmacy products and services on the market makes it mandatory for health systems to optimize these programs and services to improve patient care,” said Kharbat.

The panel shared their experiences in serving hospitals and health systems and how they've seen the role of chief pharmacy officer evolve. They shared tips on elevating the role to be a strategic leader in the health system, which in turn can improve access to care, drive increased revenue, and enhance patient care and community programs. And how health systems can build sustainable, revenue-producing specialty pharmacy services.

Watch the webinar here.