“Episode 8: Level Up with Pharmacists – Mark Conklin from PQS”
by Stacey Richter

Listen to the MP3 file directly by clicking here.

Mark Conklin- Vice president of Operations for Pharmacy Quality Solutions

mark_conklin Mark currently serves as the Vice President of Operations for Pharmacy Quality Solutions (PQS). In his role with PQS, he is responsible for product development and technology operations for EQuIPP, a performance measurement and reporting platform for health plans and community pharmacy organizations engaged in improving the quality of medication use.

Prior to joining PQS, Mark was the Director of Quality Innovations for the Pharmacy Quality Alliance where he was responsible for concept development in reporting medication use quality. After starting his career as a pharmacist with CVS Pharmacy, Mark spent much of his early career with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield as both a Clinical Pharmacist and a Business Innovation Strategy Consultant.

Mark received both his PharmD and his Masters in Pharmacy Administration from Duquesne University.

Twitter: @mhconklin and @pharmacyquality


00:10 Mark is the VP of Operations for Pharmacy Quality Solutions. In his role he oversees product development and product solutions.

00:25 What Pharmacy Quality Solutions is: A joint venture between the Pharmacy Quality Alliance and CE City.

1:00 Pharmacy Quality Alliance is a non-profit organization focused on medication use and quality measure development.

1:45 Examples of PQA measures that rate pharmacists.

2:30 Examples of PQA as a multi stake-holder organization.

3:15 PQA looks for areas opportunity where measurement could help lead to improvement in patient care, service utilization, etc.

3:50 CE City is a for-profit technology company that supplies PQS with the structure needed for building company services.

4:45 The creation of Pharmacy Quality Solutions: Mark started working with PQA five or six years ago while he was working for Highmark. Mark saw the opportunity to use CE City to connect health plans and pharmacies, met his partner, Annette Boyer, at CE City, and together they worked with Rite Aid and Highmark to start the project that eventually led to Pharmacy Quality Solutions.

7:00 Pharmacy Quality Solutions is about standardizing the management of performance information in the pharmacy space.

9:00 The relationship between Health Plans and Pharmacies: often it is varied, but typically the relationships in the past have been transactional in nature, and primarily focused on pharmacies dispensing medications.

9:50 How do you interact with your pharmacy network beyond a transaction? How do you derive clinical performance value out of the relationship between health plans and pharmacies? The solution can be a win-win for both sides.

11:00 How plan data is used in order to make sure that the information being gathered is adherent and beneficial to both health plans and pharmacies.

13:25 Database integration between Highmark and Rite Aid was made simple with the assistance of CE City.

14:45 How this information looks at a pharmacist level.

16:20 The demonstration project results with Highmark will be published in August.

17:00 The project saw improvements across the board, and in some categories, improvements in all cost medical utilization.

17:20 Mark’s jump from a Highmark employee to helping start Pharmacy Quality Solutions.

22:45 The importance of giving a product and a service.

23:15 “There is more to the engagement than a platform or the software as a service. You want to make sure that you deliver a good service for your customers.”

23:40 EQuIPP is a multi-tenant, performance information management platform.

24:00 EQuIPP allows pharmacies to build hierarchies using the performance data after it has been processed at a plan level.  A chain pharmacy can then see how its performance looks at each level of the organization.

24:30 EQuIPP presents this data in a very simple, very intuitive way that allows clients to see exactly what they want to know.

24:45 What PQS results look like at a ground level.

25:30 How PQS takes EQuIPP and makes it more accessible to PQS clients.

27:00 Pharmacy Quality Solutions’ EQuIPP data for clients on the plan-side is primarily driven by Medicare plans.

27:40 Moving forward, Mark sees a lot of interest in the quality rating system associated with the exchange products.

28:20 System for consistency: How Pharmacy Quality Solutions makes sure that pharmacists in plan areas are using EQuIPP.

29:50 “There has to be an engagement strategy on the plan side and there has to be an engagement effort on the pharmacy side.”

30:25 “I’m willing to spend money for improvement, given the return that I’m getting.”

30:50 What QRS stands for: Quality Rating System, and what it is exactly.

31:00 What happens after a pharmacy hires Pharmacy Quality Solutions. PQS works to gather plans that are actively invested in their clients’ networks.

33:20 Pharmacy Quality Solutions works with roughly five out of six pharmacies in the country; they are approaching a connection with upwards of 50,000 pharmacies.

34:30 PQS has a critical mass for plans. They manage about 11 million lives to-date, a number which will likely double in the next four months.

35:40 PQS does not have a prescriber aspect of the company at this point, but there is talk.

37:40 “There is a synergy of incentives.”

39:00 The future may hold a more active engagement between pharmacies and physicians as patient adherence becomes more important.

39:30 Mark can be reached by email at mconklin@pharmacyquality.com and through http://www.pharmacyquality.com/  or https://www.EQuIPPp.org/professional.aspx . He can also be reached on twitter @MHConklin

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