Former NCPA head launches network

Monday, March 26, 2012

When Bruce Roberts opened his first pharmacy in 1976, pharmacists played a much larger role in the lives of patients. In the decades since, he has seen medication gradually become the centerpiece of what they do. That's something Roberts, former executive vice president and CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) wants to change. In February, he launched RxAlly, a member network that seeks to help pharmacists improve patient health and reduce healthcare costs. Roberts spoke with HME News recently about his plans for the network.

HME News: Why did you launch RxAlly?

Bruce Roberts: With health plans, we are beginning to see a real understanding of the importance of programs that ensure the appropriate use of medications. Studies clearly show that if the pharmacist is involved in the patient's care plan, it can save enormous dollars.

HME: How will you help pharmacies with this?

Roberts: With Accountable Care Organizations, it's going to be very difficult for pharmacists to play in the ACOs unless somebody's helping connect them. We are developing a technology platform that will underpin this network and will create connectivity to the rest of the healthcare team. 

HME: Will this technology also track data?

Roberts: The technology will facilitate bringing in data from the pharmacy and also the health plan, and really making sure we are moving the needle. We are also going to show how one pharmacy is performing against another.

HME: Are other healthcare providers starting to see pharmacists as team members?

Roberts: (Pharmacists) are pigeonholed as being the purveyors of a commodity. I don't think there's a predisposal for the medical community to not integrate the pharmacist, but the business model doesn't support that. That's what we are intent on changing.