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PBMI Specialty Rx Forum Speaker Paula Bickley: Making Patient-Centeredness More Than Just a Tagline


McKesson VP says implementing patient-centeredness involves 13 different types of professionals.

Paula Bickley, vice president of market access for biologics at McKesson, wants people to know that it takes a lot to make patient-centeredness more than just a marketing tagline.

“It is rigor and discipline and continuous learning that helps us get the right drug to the right patient at the right time and once having done that, help the patient match the therapy to optimize their outcome,” Bickley said today during her presentation at the 4th Annual Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute's Specialty Rx Forum, which was held because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paula Bickeley

Paula Bickley

The meeting's theme was “Maintaining Patient-Centeredness,” and Bickley’s talk was titled, “Putting the Patient First.” She discussed the value that specialty pharmacies provide, noting that truly taking care of people in a patient-centered fashion requires collaboration among 13 different types of professionals.

Bickley sketched the roles of several professionals, from pharmacists doing risk assessments and getting patients starting on therapy to patient care coordinators at specialty pharmacies overseeing refills to business intelligence experts who collecting data that helps the pharmacy team understand early therapy adoption and the payer response to these therapies. Bickley also discussed intake and patient access specialists who help with prior authorization and take steps to mitigate the financial challenges that some patients might have.

Bickley said patient access is a two-sided effort. She said her job is to work with payers and negotiate contracts that give us access to patients through their specialty pharmacy networks.

“My partners on the biopharma-facing team are responsible for getting access to these products. We call that the barbells of patient access.”

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