A Minute with a Pharmacist: Craig Dolan

Craig Dolan explains how the role of a hospital pharmacist could shift over the next five years.

By: McKesson Health Systems Editorial Team

Read time: 2 minutes

This month, we’re talking to pharmacists about the future of the pharmacy team and the challenges pharmacists face. Here’s what Craig Dolan, VP, Business Development and Innovation, shared.

1. What is one of the biggest challenges members of the pharmacy team face today?

Right now, a big challenge is managing the pandemic and a hospital pharmacy given the current conditions, both from a business and a staff/management standpoint. Along with this, hospital pharmacies must balance the demands of the primary patient care role and maintain the financial viability of the organization. New pharmaceutical products and their associated costs are growing at a fast pace, which requires the right management skills for improving patient care. Proper labor resources can often be a challenge, depending on the type and location of the hospital pharmacy.

2. How may the role of a hospital pharmacist be different five years from now?

Hospital pharmacists will continue to depend more on information systems and technology to analyze data and provide appropriate recommendations. A greater role in ambulatory care services within outpatient services, clinics and specialty pharmacies will also be a prime area of responsibility for many pharmacists. They will have expanded responsibilities that impact insurance payers and will require the authorization of medication use. But what won’t change is the pharmacist’s role as a trusted professional for the patient’s drug management and well-being. Of course, some are now working remotely depending on the state, so the workplace may change. There are growing roles in telemedicine, but there’s still a place for pharmacists in the facility. The clinicians’ role may not change much, but the operational roles will change significantly.

3. Are there other hospital pharmacy trends to watch out for?

A big trend that hospital pharmacies should stay on top of is the growth in outpatient care. More care is shifting to outpatient settings. Continued transition into the outpatient and ambulatory markets is based on the shift of spend, utilization and controlling patient readmissions. Ongoing access to the health system pharmacist as the drug utilization expert by health system executives, physicians, nurses and ancillary departments will continue to grow as they are a common bridge between many caregivers. The specialty pharmacy system will also continue to grow for patients with unique disease states. The shift is also now from outpatient care to more home infusion settings. It is important to make sure that the settings are appropriate for the care, and that the health system gets paid for the setting of care.

4. This month is about thanking you and fellow pharmacists for all they do beyond the coat. What would you like to say to encourage, motivate or thank others in the field this October?

To our fellow pharmacists, I would like to thank you all for your work. Regardless of setting, the work you do is vital for the health of all our communities. You have been through so much, and we are all thankful for you being there when our patients need you.