Business model

CU Pharmacy Alumna Explores Business Model for New Opportunity

As part of this month’s Milestone 2022 feature, Kristin Speer (née Braschler) looks back 10 years ago since graduating from CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She offers ideas and advice to the next generation of pharmacists.

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What are you currently doing as a pharmacy professional and how have you progressed to where you are today?

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Kristen Speer, Doctor of Pharmacy ’12

I just changed companies, but have worked in the PBM (pharmaceutical benefit management) industry for my entire after-school pharmacy career and PGY1 residency. I have just started as a Clinical Consultant (also known as Clinical Account Manager) for a large well known PBM. Previously, I worked for a small PBM for eight years. At this small PBM, I worked as a clinical pharmacist and then director of clinical services, managing a team of clinical pharmacists where we were all practicing at the top of our licenses. Hospice and hospice prescribers have consulted with me and my team on recommended treatment regimens for the pain and symptoms of their complex patients. My message to pharmacy students is 1) don’t be afraid to work in a PBM (there are two or more sides to every story you hear), and 2) working in a PBM can provide many kinds of opportunities different for pharmacists that I think a lot of people, including pharmacists, don’t realize. For job seekers, note that a PBM can often hire pharmacists with retail experience. A managed care pharmacy residency is not always required. If the role is more clinical, a residency may be required.

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How is the person you are today different from the person you were in school?

The maturity factor increases by an amount one would expect over a decade. But for me, it was also influenced by having a family, working with critically ill and dying patients for most of that time, and my relatively older age compared to others when they were in pharmacy school. During this period, I learned to understand myself better by practicing with other health professionals. You’re not really exposed to the same level of interdisciplinary interaction in school that you will inevitably see in the real world. When you work with others toward the common goal of patient-centered care, you learn as much about how you approach challenges as you learn about others. I think one final difference between the “then and now” me is my expectations at school of what others, including patients and providers, would know or should know about medications. . At the time, I thought prescribers were pretty knowledgeable about medications and patients understood the basics of their own medications. The truth is that both often know less than that, and pharmacists should never assume how much (a little or a lot) someone knows about drugs.

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What was a defining moment for you as a seasoned professional?

Finding a revenue model that will work for my new consulting business was a “watershed moment”. I have excellent consultation and clinical skills that I can offer to patients and palliative and pain care providers. Besides starting a new job, I recently opened an LLC, which is actually quite easy to do. I find the hardest part is understanding the reimbursement coin (or other business revenue model). Currently, pharmacists do not have “provider” status in most states and therefore we are not reimbursed for our services in the same way as physicians and other healthcare professionals with provider status. vendor. So reimbursement might not even be the best revenue model for my business due to my specific goals and vision. I have a few ideas though, and I’m in no rush, so I’m more excited about the challenge and creativity shaping this “defining moment.”

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What inspired you to take the CU Pharmacy program and what was your experience during the program?

I’m originally from Colorado. Of course, in-state tuition and the ability to stay “at home” were attractive. So for my situation, it made sense to go with this program. The CU School of Pharmacy is also highly ranked, and the program has several other attractive qualities. My experience during school was great. I thought the program was challenging and relevant. Options for electives and APPEs were plentiful. What I appreciated the most was how the faculty was receptive to student feedback and willing to make changes in the face of certain student challenges and requests. The program has demonstrated flexibility and adaptability. This is important for our profession, especially now, as it evolves into a new paradigm.

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What is your proudest moment and your favorite thing about working in the pharmacy profession?

For the proudest professional moment, I have two. 1–I have received letters from providers and patients about how I have helped improve the patient’s quality of life or made the provider’s job easier. 2– I co-founded the Psychedelic Pharmacist Association. I think medicine based on psychedelics is going to be a game changer when it comes to mental health. I joined a group of pharmacists who believed the same, and none of us held a BCPP (Board Certification in Psychiatric Pharmacy). It just goes to show that to trigger something big, you don’t have to identify yourself or fit into a certain definition.

As for my favorite thing, our profession is evolving into a niche or specialization and moving away from the traditional retail/dispensary setting. The pharmacy and the need to dispense medicine will still be there, but it’s becoming automated. The framework continues to degrade the value of the pharmacist. With many states granting more authority and provider status to pharmacists, we will see more practicing/specialist pharmacists. We will see more business owners and entrepreneurs. I think that’s exciting and a good thing.

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What sound advice would you give to current and future students that would have been useful in preparing you for the job market?

I I have a few things to share on this issue:

1-Unless you are determined to get into retail for some deep reason, I would consider retail pharmacy alternatives due to the changing retail landscape. This does not mean that you have to obtain residency. However, if you are attracted to a residency or want clinical work, I highly recommend one. I would also recommend a residency if you want to be more competitive. However, there are plenty of jobs that don’t require residency, including long-term care, pharmaceutical consulting/market access, PBMs, and probably several others. Also, if you want to become a business owner or get into pharmacy business administration, you probably won’t need a residency.

2- This goes back to the previous point: Decide as soon as possible what you want to do. Don’t be convinced that you just got into pharmacy school because of the money. If you’re not careful, you’ll make a lot of money doing a job you absolutely despise, and you may have a hard time getting by. In addition, sometimes it takes a little more specific work or training to enter your chosen field, if not a residency or certification. A good example is the liaison of medical affairs and medical sciences. Often, employers want to see specific training from an accredited medical affairs program to consider eligible candidates for these roles.

3-Keep track of your work and achievements during your APPE or other jobs, so that your resume is easier to put together. Add numbers (or percentages) to quantify relevant and significant achievements. Employers like to see numbers. Tailor each resume to each job you’re applying for. I cannot stress this last point enough. It may seem like more work, but your upkeep rate will be higher and you will actually waste less time. Tailoring your CV also forces you to think critically about whether you really want this position, which will positively influence your job satisfaction.

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