As Associate Director, Specialty Pharmacy Services at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy, JoAnn Stubbings operates a comprehensive specialty pharmacy that serves patients, employees, and students of the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System (UI Health), a major academic teaching institution on the near west side of Chicago. She is responsible for all aspects of specialty pharmacy and multimedication management for specialty pharmacy patients at UI Health. Some of her responsibilities include strategic and business planning, 340B oversight, staff development, growth management, facilities design, payer and limited distribution drug access, ASHP-accredited residencies, patient management programs, technicians, clinical pharmacists, URAC and ACHC accreditation, outcomes measurement and reporting, contracts, entrepreneurship, education and training, marketing, and communication with providers and stakeholders.
Leader, Educator, and Innovator
JoAnn currently leads an advanced and well-established health-system based specialty pharmacy team that includes a clinical coordinator, accreditation and residency coordinator, call center and operations coordinator, business coordinator, plus an outstanding group of pharmacists, certified pharmacy technicians, pharmacy residents, and pharmacy students. JoAnn has a comprehensive understanding of how to build a specialty pharmacy, and how to grow the business by overcoming many challenges. In her role as Clinical Associate Professor at the UIC College of Pharmacy, she understands the role of pharmacy and post-graduation education in specialty pharmacy. JoAnn has developed and implemented modern active learning tools in the classroom and online. Additionally, she spearheaded the creation of an ASHP accredited Community Pharmacy Residency with a focus on specialty pharmacy. So far the program has graduated two residents and both are employed in specialty pharmacy roles. JoAnn has also led the development of three innovative ventures in specialty pharmacy for UI Health. The first, in 2012, was a workflow/case management system for specialty pharmacy entitled ESpecialty Rx, created by an information technology-trained pharmacist. Second, she encouraged the startup of a new minority-owned business in the UI Health service area, Webber Logistics, to provide cold chain distribution for same day delivery of specialty medications. Lastly, JoAnn established a resource at UI Health entitled Specialty Pharmacy Drug Cards that is used for training and as a reference for prior authorizations, treatment initiations, and clinical assessments. They currently have 124 specialty pharmacy drug cards.
Looking to the Future
JoAnn believes that three areas are most critical to future practice advancement and management of specialty pharmacy. They include: educating, disseminating and building the health-system based pharmacy practice model for pharmacists and technicians, demonstrating the value of health-system based specialty pharmacy, and ensuring the continued viability of health-system based pharmacy practice through access to payer and limited distribution networks.
The Role of Professional Organizations
JoAnn shared her thoughts on the role of professional organizations in specialty pharmacy. She believes there is a need for more enhanced training and education, specifically as it relates to initial and ongoing disease states. JoAnn also believes that technician education, training and support should be a large focus for professional organizations.
With a bright outlook for the future JoAnn believes that ASHP will lead the way in developing unique tools for specialty pharmacy practice that are not available from other sources. As Chair of the Section of Specialty Pharmacy Practitioners Executive Committee she will work with others in the profession to secure that future. As a result, specialty pharmacists and technicians across the country will be part of a community that will help build their expertise and practice.