Anticipating the needs of customers and patients is all in a day’s work for Wade Hastings. As Category Leader for the Consumer Products Group, he hears from customers every day on what they need for better patient care. If he and his team don’t have the correct item at their disposal, they get to work securing it—whether it’s durable medical equipment, advanced wound care or other types of products.

For this edition of Expert Spotlight, we sat down with Wade to hear how he helps customers deliver better care and what he hopes the future of healthcare will provide for patients.

How would you describe your role at McKesson?

Hastings: I’m the Category Leader for the Consumer Products Group team, also called the Retail Solutions team. My primary category is home healthcare and I’m responsible for making sure we have the right products available to ensure our patient and customer needs are being met.

What’s your favorite part of your work?

Hastings: One of my favorite things is that each day is different. The responsibilities may be similar, but when you come in, you don’t really know how your day will go. And as a category leader, you own that category or group of business. It’s entrepreneurial work by nature. So there’s an ability to really make an impact. The fact that the work changes every day, and you’re involved with multiple aspects of the company, is interesting.

Is there something you’re most proud of about your work?

Hastings: I’ve been here for about a year and a half now, and one of the things I took on when I first joined the company was expanding the McKesson brand of products within the home healthcare segment. We’ve been very successful at expanding into different areas there, like advanced wound care or durable medical equipment. So being a part of growing that brand has been exciting.

What has your career path been like?

Hastings: I started off with a communications degree and worked for media companies. I then became a media manager for a large regional grocery chain here in Texas. About halfway through my duration there, I got the chance to switch to the product management side of the business. That’s really when I got hooked on category management and product management, and it’s where my career has taken me ever since.

What are you working on right now that you’re most excited about?

Hastings: Right now we’re preparing for the upcoming McKesson ideaShare conference, which brings together independent pharmacies - in addition to other types of pharmacies that we support. I’ll be featuring McKesson brand products, since we’re continuing to expand our offerings within the brand. This past year was my first ideaShare, and I found it exciting to engage with our customers directly on the show floor. I think there’s a lot of value in supporting an event like this, where you have that unique level of customer engagement. You get to speak with them directly and promote what’s new and different from year to year.

What do you do to stay on top of your health and wellness?

Hastings: I love the outdoors, so anything outside is usually on the top of my list. I have a chocolate Lab named Levi who loves to be outside and keeps me active even on days when I don’t necessarily want to be. I’m also a big believer in supplements and vitamins. During the winter months, I load up on vitamin C and zinc to boost my immune system. I think trying to be aware of your own health and wellness is the best thing you can do. Make sure you’re doing things that fit into your routine and that you enjoy doing—then it becomes easier to do them.

Can you tell me about a recent experience you’ve had with the healthcare system? It could be positive, negative or just eye-opening.

Hastings: Recently I needed to get in to see my primary care physician. His schedule was booked, and he didn’t have any immediate openings. I was able to see a physician’s assistant, which is becoming more common now. They’re more accessible. It gives patients more convenience and better access to care when they need to address things in a timely manner. To me, that’s definitely a positive.

What do you think today’s patients need most when it comes to better care?

Hastings: There’s so much healthcare information out there; patients need a trusted resource that can help them navigate all of that information. For me, that’s where I see pharmacists playing a bigger role these days. They can become a trusted resource that patients can turn to when they need guidance on how to manage their health. I think building on that resource and relationship is important and will continue to be important in the future.

What do you think is about to change in healthcare?

Hastings: People today don’t just want better access to information; they want ways to use that information to be more proactive in managing their health. They want to know what options they have, and they want more of a voice in choosing how to handle preventive care. I think people are now more aware than ever that lifestyle and diet choices can help prevent certain diseases. And I think people want more ways to understand what those are so they can make proactive decisions about their own health.

What do you hope will change when it comes to patient care?

Hastings: I think people need more virtual and digital tools, like the option to have a virtual appointment with their doctor. People are already turning to that as a convenient option. Or consider wearable technology; patients can capture and provide data to their providers that, in turn, can help them take preventive measures to improve their health. Overall, patients want healthcare to be specific to their lifestyle and their needs and I think it all goes back to personal preferences and communication. Do they want to have access to tools and applications that allow them to do things virtually or remotely? I hope answering those questions will continue to be a part of the change we see moving forward.

Related: Learn more about McKesson’s over-the-counter drugs and pharmaceutical products for pharmacies

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McKesson editorial staff is committed to sharing innovative approaches and insights so our customers can get the most out of their business solutions and identify areas for operational improvement and revenue growth.

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