“There is an interesting dynamic happening in health care today, and because of it, you are going to see more and more opportunities to plug into the health care industry through managed care pharmacy,” said Tim Vines, chair of Samford University’s Board of Trustees and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.
Speaking to an audience of students in McWhorter School of Pharmacy’s student chapter of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, Vines discussed factors that influence the overall cost of health care and how managed care pharmacists can play vital roles in potential solutions.
“If you were to break down all of the money that was spent on health care in 1996, five percent was spent on drugs. Fast forward to 2017, that number has grown to 23.1 percent,” Vines said. “A larger and larger percent of health care dollars are going toward pharmacy.”
Dorinda Cale, the director of pharmacy at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama and a ’97 McWhorter School of Pharmacy alumna, joined Vines to provide insight into her role as a managed care pharmacist within Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
“In my 15 years with the company, I have seen an evolution,” she said. “Today, there is not a day that goes by that I’m not involved with decisions that our senior leadership is making—from marketing and sales to legal and finance. My work involves more than clinical information; it requires business skills.”
Citing the excellence of Cale’s work as an example, Vines encouraged students to take advantage of every opportunity that Samford provides, including the chance to earn a dual degree with their Doctor of Pharmacy.
“Don’t underestimate the additional knowledge you are developing that will complement your clinical understanding,” he said. “Your clinical skills will get you in the door, but your business knowledge will help you stand out,” Vines said.
Cale echoed this sentiment, promoting the school’s dual degree with health informatics.
“The next step in the evolution of managed care pharmacy is health care analytics. The person who can master the data and understand all of its connection points will be king. For then, you will see the collective coming together to provide better care,” she said.