Health systems have rapidly acquired medical groups in pursuit of two goals: first, to protect the health system’s market share, and second, to prepare for at-risk contracts. To achieve these goals, pharmacy and medical group leaders need to coordinate to manage drug costs, improve medication adherence, and capture drug revenue.
However, little coordination exists so far. Medical group practices often purchase and manage medications independent of their aligned health systems and so miss out on the benefits of being part of a larger organization. Thus, they may pay higher prices for drugs and needlessly waste unused medications. In addition, most medical groups lack staff with the experience and expertise to ensure medication safety and regulatory compliance, which puts the larger organization at risk.
As a first step to address these problems, pharmacy and medical group executives should collaborate to improve drug purchasing and inventory processes. This will help lower medical group drug costs and build the trust needed to tackle longer-term challenges.