Kellie Wilson: Leading with Perspective
What is your experience in the long-term care industry and how does that impact your role in PharMerica?
Before joining PharMerica, I worked with a national company that had more than 100 nursing homes in 12 states and focused on ancillary nursing services, one of which was our pharmacy program. PharMerica was our pharmacy services provider, so I’m in the unique position of being both an employee and a former client of the company. That insight allows me to really understand how we can adapt practices to help clients solve their specific problems such as facilitating prior authorizations, realizing savings, and reducing burdens on staff.
What are the main things you look for when developing a program, process, or workflow to ensure an excellent customer experience?
Since I’ve been on the other side as a nursing home client, first and foremost I always focus on the final impact and how a program, process, or workflow affects the residents and the nurses who pass the medications. I want to make sure these efforts enable the best possible outcomes and quality of life for residents as well as save time and stress for staff.
With nursing turnover and staffing shortages plaguing so many facilities, we are always asking ourselves how we can make their lives easier and streamline workflows so the downstream effect is a simpler process that gives nurses back more time and enables them to focus on caring for residents.
Do our nurse consultants help to offset staffing shortages in facilities right now?
They definitely do. When we hire these professionals, we really try to ensure they have long-term care industry knowledge and have either worked in a facility as a director of nursing (DON) or a charge nurse so they understand the big picture and how we can help fill the gaps. Part of that involves looking beyond just how we can help with medications. For example, we try to see if there’s additional support we can offer such as being an extra set of eyes or hands for infection control monitoring, running mock surveys, and assisting in other areas where resources are scarce.
What do customers say is the number one benefit our nurse consultants deliver?
Keeping them in compliance is foremost. The most requested nurse consultant services are med pass observations and mar-to-cart audits. These help ensure compliance by going through a detailed list of all the steps necessary for accurate, complete MAR and med pass. When we can check all the boxes, facilities, nurses and other team members can feel confident that nothing has been missed or fallen through the cracks. This gives them peace of mind knowing there will be no avoidable adverse events or surprises during surveys.
Assistance with identifying best practices to drive efficiencies is also essential to our customers. Whether that involves our nurse consultants doing a time study and sharing ways to adapt processes that are interfering with med pass or other tasks or activities staffs can do differently, we draw on our experiences with facilities across the nation to streamline practices. We combine our national scope with local, personalized client knowledge and relationships to provide a uniquely powerful customer service experience.
Would you say driving efficiency is one of the top priorities of your team?
Absolutely. Helping enhance efficiencies adds another layer to how we can support our customers as a trusted partner during the national staffing crisis we’re currently experiencing. If you understand the workflow from a facility level and all the ways they work as an interdisciplinary team, you grasp every area and way you can make a difference – not only regarding med pass but also in billing, compliance, infection control prevention, or other areas. It’s a holistic approach to customer services, and it’s ingrained in my team.
Can you talk about our community focus and local expertise and how you service facilities at the local level?
We have boots on the ground. We have Nurse Consultants in all the major markets, so they get to the facilities quickly when there’s a one-off problem and they are needed urgently.
Beyond meeting their emergent needs, that local presence allows them to know each and every customer, including their needs, goals, challenges and pain points. We know their teams, their leaders, and who their residents are.
This deep insight at the community level helps us understand what they need to focus on or where they need extra support. For instance, we study what the surveyors are looking at and citing in that community, we conduct research on regulations and we look for ways to maximize compliance and quality scores.
What’s the one thing you want people to know about your teams?
We’re always prepared to go a little further than you may think a traditional pharmacy would. We’re not just providing medications. As a partner, we’re always trying to find ways we can make an impact on a facility, their staff, and residents based on our three pillars of medication availability, cost containment, and compliance and education.
Describe how you see PharMerica’s customer service.
Our customer service really is the gold standard. It starts with onboarding and implementation and understanding what every customer needs. During those initial discussions, we learn about the expectations facility leadership has of their pharmacy. Then we make sure that every PharMerica team member who interacts with the customer meets or exceeds those expectations.
A big part of that is clearly communicating upfront what we do and what they can expect from us. We want to make sure everyone understands how things will flow and, if this flow breaks down for some reason, how we’ll partner with facility leadership to bridge the gap. Putting communication front and center is essential to a successful relationship.
What drives you every day to do what you do?
It’s really just knowing that at the end of the day, I‘m impacting human lives in a positive way. I may be a little more removed from residents in my position today than at other times in my career, but by having a team that makes it easier for nurses and others in the trenches to care for residents, I am confident that I am making a difference. I keep that perspective front and center every day.