Running a clinically and financially successful health care operation requires anticipating what’s going to happen next. That allows the organization to proactively adjust its business model to take advantage of the industry changes right around the corner.

The strong desire to know what’s going to happen next is reflected in four of the most-read blog posts published on during the first three months of this year. In each of the four posts, health care subject matter experts made their predictions about the major trends that will reshape the health care landscape in 2017.

In “Top Five Health System Pharmacy Trends to Watch in 2017,”  McKesson’s Pharmacy Optimization team ranked the five trends that it anticipated will impact hospital and health system pharmacies this year. Topping the list was the continued growth in the specialty drug market. New complex medications to treat acute and chronic illnesses are coming online at a rapid pace. The drugs require sophisticated ways to administer them as well as order, store and bill payers for them.  “Opportunities still exist for health system pharmacy leaders who understand and can demonstrate the unique clinical and operational competencies and expertise required to build, buy or partner with specialty pharmacies,” the team said.

In “The Outlook for Health Care Business in 2017,” McKesson’s editorial staff curated 13 industry outlooks and predictions from leading industry sources. Pharmaceutical topics—from new drugs to drug costs—threaded through all of the outlooks and predictions. The Cleveland Clinic, for example, said it expected a “complete shift” in the roster of drugs available to diabetic patients. PricewaterhouseCoopers said drug manufacturers will face greater pressure to prove the value of their medications to patients and regulators.  A report in Managed Healthcare Executive said, “High drug prices will continue to be the biggest pharmacy challenge for payers in 2017, sparked by the entry of many new specialty drugs on the market for some common chronic diseases.”

In “Top Five Independent Pharmacy Trends for 2017,” Crystal Lennartz, chief pharmacist at Health Mart, a McKesson affiliate, identified the five trends that she saw affecting independent pharmacies this year. On her list were the expansion and diversification of clinical services and programs offered to patients. Those services and programs may include medication synchronization, immunization programs and medication therapy management. That trend fed into another on Lennartz’s list, which was the growing role of the community pharmacist as a health care provider. “As community-care extenders, local pharmacies have an increasingly important role to play in determining whether hospitals, medical practices and payers are successful under value-based reimbursement models,” Lennartz said.

In “Top Three Specialty Practice Trends for 2017,” experts from McKesson Specialty Health named the three trends that they said will have the greatest impact on community-based specialty practices. Topping their list was the shift to value-based reimbursement models and the need for specialty practices to remake themselves to be successful delivering care to patients under those new models. “The most effective way to transition in 2017 and beyond will be building the technological infrastructure to collect, analyze and report performance data to Medicare and other payers and then adjusting practice patterns and behaviors to meet or exceed each program’s performance targets,” the experts said.

As reflected by the four blog posts, anticipating and proactively addressing industry change is a business imperative for drug manufacturers, health plans, pharmacies and providers if they’re to be successful during and after the transition to value-based care.

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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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