Podcast Host Nick Dorich, PharmD, PQS Associate Director of Pharmacy Accounts, interviews Stephanie Hale, PQS Quality Programs Manager about Enhanced Services opportunities currently available in EQUIPP.
Stephanie talks about three programs: Controlling Blood Pressure, A1c, and Year End Adherence programs, and the response of pharmacies that are implementing these programs.
For more information on PQS Enhanced Services visit
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Really. October was our best month so far with blood pressure readings, and we're just continuing to grow that program. And it's and pharmacies are getting more and more engaged. I think there's just overall excitement around it.
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Welcome to the Pharmacy Quality Solutions Quality Corner Show where quality measurement leads to better patient outcomes. This show will be your go to source for all things related to quality improvement and medication use and health care. We will hit on trending health topics as they relate to performance measurements and find common ground for payers and practitioners. We will discuss how the platform can help you with your performance goals.
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The Quality Corner Show starts now.
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Hello Quality Corner Show listeners. Welcome to the PQS podcast, where we focus on medication, use, quality improvement and how we can utilize pharmacists to improve patient health outcomes. I'm your host, Nick Dorich. With today's episode, we're going to be talking about some of the things that we are actively doing and working on with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians via the EQUIPP platform.
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When we relaunched or launched our new version of EQUIPP in the fall of 2022, we're really excited to bring forth new capabilities and a redesigned user interface to further help pharmacy team members engage and improve patient care and health outcomes. So some of these programs and some of these projects have really come to fruition in 2023, and we're excited to talk about some of the success of these programs and what pharmacy is going to look forward to in 2024.
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Now, with that being the case, we invited on a special guest for today's episode, and that is none other than Stephanie Hale, who is my colleague here at PQS and she is our quality programs manager. Now, Stephanie, you've been on the show before, but welcome back And how are you doing today?
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Thanks. I'm glad to be back. How are you doing, Nick?
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I'm fantastic. I'm here talking about EQUIPP. I'm talking about EQUIPP with you, which I could not be more excited for. Now, Stephanie, we have some folks that have probably not heard from you in the context of this show before. They maybe they have maybe they've seen your name on emails that come out for us as it relates to program opportunities and EQUIPP.
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But can you give us a little bit of a rundown? What is your experience in pharmacy and then what is it that you do today here at Peaks?
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Sure. So I worked as a technician for probably close to 20 years in the retail space, working for independents and chains as well. And then I moved over to a sale and worked there for about ten years. And then I've taught some technician classes so really in-depth with that space and then came here about a year ago.
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Excellent. And Stephanie, we're happy to have you here. I know you love working with pharmacies and I know you love educating and engaging with pharmacies. And that's what I want to talk about today. Particularly or specifically, we're going to be talking about some of the new enhanced service opportunities in EQUIPP. So we're going to jump into that. But before we do, we're going to stop and we're going to hear one quick message from our other teammates here at us.
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Now it's time for the breakdown as quality corners show host, Nick will ask three main topic questions, Our guests will have a chance to respond. And there will be some discussion to summarize the key points this process will repeat for the second and third questions, which will wrap up the primary contents for this recording. After that, I expect to end on a closing summary, usually containing a bonus question.
Now that we have the start of the process, let's jump into the questions.
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All right, Stephanie, we're ready to begin with the questions for today, and we're going to keep this one pretty short and sweet. What we want to talk about is the enhanced services, the enhanced services tab and EQUIPP. So this has been active now for several months. Can you talk to us about how you've been working and how your team has been engaging with pharmacies?
What are they doing Right?
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So currently my team works with both the payers to get information about each of the plans and the opportunities that they have. And then also with the pharmacy team and the pharmacy, the pharmacies directly. So we may send out emails or do webinars or other types of communication to be able to let them know the opportunities that are and EQUIPP through enhanced services.
00:05:06:10 - 00:05:27:20
So the difference with enhanced services compared to the other programs is that documentation isn't just a checkpoint for the pharmacy, it's actually required for payment. So really just getting those pharmacies into the dashboard and and making sure that they can document appropriately and get payment for those options.
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Now, Stephanie, let's talk about what some of those enhanced services are. And we've as you mentioned, you have and on our team, we've done webinars, we've done communications, we've had press releases about some of these different services. But there's really three main programs available, an enhanced service. Can you give us a quick description, a quick list and description of those three programs?
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Yes. So the one of the programs is controlling blood pressure, and these are opportunities that are those patients that maybe are a little bit hard to track down and the plan, the health plan does not have a reading on file for them. So since the pharmacy has more touchpoints with the patients than, let's say, a doctor's office, they're providing those opportunities through us to our dashboard so that the pharmacy can go in there and then ask their patient for a blood pressure reading and then document in EQUIPP.
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And there's also opportunities for patients who need A1c readings as well. And then recently we launched a year end adherence program. So those patients are actually a little bit different than what we're normally used to seeing in EQUIPP, because typically we're looking at those patients that are not usually adherent. Well, these patients are adherent, so they may see that they have an adherence rate at between 80 and 100%.
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So basically they just want to they meaning the insurance company wants to ensure that those patients are going to be adherent for the end of the year. So they have one remaining cell to get them to be adherent for the year.
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Excellent. We're really excited for these programs because it really allows and provides opportunities and depending upon the time, it may get patients or the pharmacies excuse me, a bit of a runway to work with these patients, getting a blood pressure reading, getting a hemoglobin A1C test to make sure that that patient has an opportunity to optimize their medication therapy, their regimen, and then ensure that they're going to be on that track towards adherence.
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So these are really exciting opportunities, at least from my standpoint. Stephanie, what I want to hear in my next question is for you is what about the pharmacies? So you've been working in engaging with with these pharmacy teams. What has their response been to these opportunities and are they active with it? And then how are they feeling about the new opportunities in general?
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Really, October was our best month so far with blood pressure readings, and we're just continuing to grow that program. And it's and pharmacies are getting more and more engaged. I think there's just overall excitement around it, you know, between where where can we make some extra revenue? And these are easy things to do to make a little extra money.
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And I think the biggest thing is going to make sure that pharmacies are able to incorporate that into their their daily routine and getting the rest of their staff involved. Because a lot of feedback I've received is, Oh, well, I'm doing all this stuff. Alrighty. Well, your technicians, if they're certified, are able to take those readings for you.
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So just making things a part of your daily routine and making sure that everyone else is involved as well.
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Great point, Stephanie. And that's been something that we talk about with a lot of the pharmacy organizations and we have here at UC tried to hit home those points even before enhanced services. Right. That this is something where the data or some of the data and equip is updating on a weekly basis. So becomes very important to form that habit with your pharmacy team, to have a pharmacy champion or to have an EQUIPP champion that is going to focus on identifying these new opportunities that come through.
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EQUIPP doesn't need to be something that pharmacies need to check every day. And this is something that really becomes, again, let it be a force of habit to recheck and review this information, routinely identify patients that you are continuing to follow up on and ensure that, yes, their adherence scores are improving, but that really becomes the key element.
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I also love your shout out to pharmacy technicians with some pharmacies as well. This has been this may not be just technicians. This may be student pharmacists that are technicians in the pharmacy. So really having a pharmacy team that understands these programs can understand prioritizes items and that can effectively delegate becomes a key for success. Now, Stephanie, last question that I have for us here today is thinking about the future, because, you know, you mentioned that October 2023 was our most active month for participation with these programs, which I absolutely love to hear.
00:09:58:14 - 00:10:16:22
I'd also note that that coincides with the month that is really typically most active for pharmacies when it comes to immunizations. It coincides with Medicare open enrollment. So pharmacies are finding time to engage with these opportunities. They're finding it valuable and they're finding it as yet to be a meaningful way to engage with the patients in their local community, which I love.
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So the next question there is obviously well, if you're a pharmacy that has not had the opportunity to participate in 2023, either because of location or participating health plans in your area, what do you do or how can you ensure that you get to participate in the program in 2024? Or are there ways that you can prepare for these opportunities and be ready to hit the ground running?
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Sure. So like you mentioned, the payer chooses the patients that are involved in that. So we're having continuous conversations with different payers about 2024. So we just added a new plan last week. So I anticipate that this will be a trend of adding additional plans. So to kind of get prepared, I would say definitely, you know, think about your workflow, how you want to do that, making sure you have supplies in terms of ordering a blood pressure course, if you're wanting to do a onesie, making sure you know your state requirements around that and if you need a clear waiver or if they allow it even with a clear waiver just and then also look
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out for communications from us because we do send pharmacies, communication, saying, hey, you have this opportunity or that. So making sure you look out for those and then also just making sure you know how to log into equip because you can't do anything without that log in. So.
00:11:37:23 - 00:11:59:21
Stephanie, those are all excellent points. I would add for our purposes that for pharmacies, other ways you can be prepared or active, check out our EQUIPP webinars, usually Stephanie or Brittany or Connor and sometimes a combination of two or more of those people are involved with those webinars. So be sure to check out our webinars, sign up for those or watch them on demand.
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We usually typically have those posted on our YouTube page afterwards. We also, in our resources section and EQUIPP have a number of items related to these sort of programs. So even if you're not eligible or even if these programs aren't available yet, you can still learn and read about these programs. The documentation that's required, the steps that are needed to be taken.
00:12:18:00 - 00:12:40:20
So we definitely encourage pharmacies to be active in your organization, with your organization, whether you're an independent pharmacy or chain pharmacy to, you know, look into how you can implement that so that when the opportunities presented that you are again able to hit the ground running. But, Stephanie, I guess final, final question here from it. You really excited for 2020 for new ways that we get to engage with pharmacies for enhanced services?
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Excellent. Easy enough answer. And that transitions us to our end of the episode. This one here, folks, we're keeping it pretty short and straightforward. Again, you can check out many of our resources in equip or on our website for more of the information. We've had some press releases as well talking about some of these program launches that we're really excited about.
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But now we're getting to our part of the episode where we get to talk with our guests just a little bit. These questions are they are or are not related to pharmacy or health care, but not in the normal way that we talk about on this show. So, Stephanie, we're going to go ahead and jump to these questions.
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I've got four of them for you today. And are you ready to go?
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I'm ready to go.
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Okay. First question for you, Stephanie. What makes you most thankful or appreciative to be a part of the pharmacy community?
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I really just think that this community is really intertwined and everybody is really looking out for everyone else, especially independents. But even, you know, in the in the retail space as well. You're a team and you really have a big team environment. And I believe that's for any type of pharmacy occupation. You have to work together as a team and you really can't function as one sole person.
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You have to have you're only good as those around you.
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Stephanie That's an excellent answer. And that that actually somewhat leads me to my next question that I have here. You have not seen these questions, but I've got them scripted for me. But the next question, assuming that they are hit, the trained and appropriate, all of those things, what superhero or fictional character would you want to work with you in a pharmacy?
00:14:23:02 - 00:14:26:06
I would say Batman. I'm personally a Batman fan.
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I think that this may be a follow up conversation or further discussion, but I don't know if Batman also comes on with the add on of Robin and Bat Girl. Alfred might be doing Pharmacy. Yeah, he's there, so you could get multiple folks on board with that answer, but that is a great one. Next question here for you.
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What is one personal recommendation that you would have for living a good, healthy and happy life.
00:14:50:17 - 00:15:08:15
Just to have fun and enjoy things? And I know we could get into all the stuff about eating right and all that kind of stuff, but I really think just being happy is the everything else just falls into place.
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Stephanie your answer, especially since you mentioned Batman in the prior answer, it makes me kind of think of the Joker. Why so serious? That that is essentially your answer here, although with a very different connotation than the Joker provided. Now, our last question for you here today. If you could be a contestant on a game show or reality TV show, what would it be?
00:15:30:17 - 00:15:46:01
Oh, my gosh, this is so easy. So definitely the Price is Right. I've been obsessed with the Price is Right since I was little. I used to call it Come on Down. So like, my dad would call from his office when I was like three, and he's like, What are you doing? And I said, I'm watching. Come on down.
00:15:46:01 - 00:15:50:23
So definitely would be for The Price Is Right.
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Well, all right, Stephanie, that's it for our questions. I have to thank you for coming on down to the our webinar podcast today here and joining us for this conversation. And before we go, if folks do have a question for you about the enhanced service programs, is there a good way for them to contact you here at PQS
00:16:09:00 - 00:16:21:11
Just using our normal support email and going to the website and putting in a ticket as well, they will send it on to me or my team. So and we'll reach out to you.
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Excellent. Well, Stephanie, again, appreciate you. Appreciate the support that you're providing for pharmacies around these new opportunities. And we're looking forward to a strong final stretch for the calendar year 2023. But part of our reason for this episode is we're getting the message out there because we want to make sure we have an even stronger start to the new year in 2024.
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And we'll probably come back with another episode where you and I get to chat about what is new coming in 2024. But that's a future episode that's going to wrap us up for today and for our audience. We thank you for joining us and we hope you listen to our next episode of The Quality Corner Show. Before we go, we have one final message from the PQS.
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