Keys to Recovery Post-Pandemic: Collaboration and Flexibility

Craig Dolan explains that navigating the road to financial recovery will require a new approach.


By Craig Dolan

Read time: 3 minutes

When the pandemic began, hospitals were initially looking at such actions as staff reductions and furloughs, outsourcing operations, closing certain services, as well as leveraging telemedicine and telehealth for patient interactions. As we look ahead, the keys to navigating the road to financial recovery will be heightened collaboration and increased flexibility. Here are some key areas of focus for hospitals and health systems to excel with both.

Reshaping the Leadership Team

The pandemic has put emphasis on everyone working together and being more interactive, and that’s here to stay. We’ll see leadership teams working much more closely in the future, and with more transparency. More leaders will get comfortable with the flexibility of going beyond their traditional job functions and knowing all the business touchpoints, which will, in turn, change the way we interact. We’re going to see increased business acumen and business relationships, and as a result, more innovation come out of these areas.

Evaluating Partnerships

Health systems must tighten the belt when it comes to managing the financial loss, and in order to do so, they need to look outside of the box, beyond headcount. Partnerships are and will continue to be especially important to allow the flexibility to flex up or down. I’d encourage health systems to look holistically to see where there are opportunities to stretch to prepare for today and, ultimately, plan for what might happen next. One area to expand collaboration is through patient assistance programs – identifying ways to partner with manufacturers that offer them. We’ve seen many manufacturers make small changes to their programs as a result of COVID-19.

Additionally, McKesson’s Critical Care Drug Task Force (CCDTF), formed at the start of the pandemic, is an area to connect with us. Through the CCDTF, customers can maintain an open dialogue with an expert team of former pharmacists, procurement specialists and administrators who have a firm understanding of the different drugs and supply volumes sought by hospitals. Fostering this partnership allows McKesson to help customers by collecting and analyzing data to track the spread and intensity of the disease in comparison to customer purchasing trends.

Within the supply chain, specifically, a number of organizations have surfaced to help with inventory, mitigate shortages, etc. Health Systems and pharmacists have to think about how we can work together with these organizations to optimize the distribution of a product to better ensure supply.

Continuing to Lead with Data

COVID-19 pushed supply managers to reevaluate their systems for managing data and supplies. Hopefully we’ll see broader sharing of data. Pharmacy data is extremely valuable and touches on multiple areas within the health system. Looking ahead, pharmacy leaders will place more emphasis on looking at medication utilization to provide transparency for physicians. How are patients using certain medications in various disease states? They’ll be looking more closely at formulary management – different settings of care, how doctors are using medications, locations and other areas. And, they’ll look at the data to identify opportunities for reimbursement for those medications.

Learn more about how we help health systems with financial recovery.