As Director, National Specialty Pharmacy Services at Kaiser Permanente (KP), Karen Chin provides leadership and management of KP National Specialty Pharmacy Program and Services (KPNSP) to assure consistent high levels of performance in pharmaceutical/clinical care, service, and operations. In collaboration with KP National Pharmacy, Karen assists in the development and execution of KP's national specialty pharmacy business strategy inclusive of the expansion of existing and new specialty pharmacy business lines, continued development, and implementation of technology.
Experience, Knowledge and Commitment
Karen has more than 20 years of experience in clinical pharmacy, with a concentration in specialty pharmacy in the last twelve years. She is knowledgeable about and an advocate for defining and developing the business scope and core services provided by specialty pharmacies as “Specialty Pharmacy” was just beginning to gain traction across the United States. Karen has been committed to Specialty Pharmacy practice and has been a spokesperson within the Kaiser Permanente Healthcare System that covers 12 million lives. KPNSP provides Specialty Pharmacy Services across all of Kaiser Permanente program-wide in the Mid-Atlantic, Georgia, Colorado, Hawaii, Pacific Northwest, California regions as well as expansion to all 50 US states in the near future. Karen keeps up-to-date on all aspects of Specialty Pharmacy practice and attends the annual specialty pharmacy meetings (e.g. AMCP, ASHP, Asembia, NASP, etc.) each year. KPNSP is focused on the provision of appropriate, quality, and safe patient care as opposed to revenue generation. This is a very unique and different aspect that KPNSP adds. As Director of KPNSP, Karen has a vast amount of experience and knowledge that adds to the understanding and enhancement of specialty pharmacy practice across the United States.
The Role of Professional Organizations
When considering the role of professional organizations in specialty pharmacy, Karen identified four key areas she believes will have the greatest impact:
- Endorsing the need for pharmacists providing clinical services in specialty pharmacy to have a minimum of three years clinical experience and/or residency training
- Helping to standardize and streamline the FDA REMS program requirements and workflows
- Assisting organizations such as NABP and NASP to standardize the practice of specialty pharmacy
- Working with SP accreditation agencies (e.g. URAC, ACHC, ASHP, etc.) to standardize accreditation requirements
Looking to the Future
Karen believes that what’s most critical to the future practice advancement and management of specialty pharmacy will be the ability for a IHS to fully implement and support a clinical/patient management program (and/or team-based health care for organizations that are integrated) for the disease states with SP medication/treatment options. This is quintessential to assuring overall positive patient clinical outcomes, quality, safety and affordability.
With a passion for advocacy and education, Karen’s goal is to assist with the development and standardization of the clinical management services provided by SP pharmacists. To achieve this objective she plans to help ASHP shape and define the future practice of specialty. “Over the next 3-4 years, I would like to see the Section provide leadership and collaborate with organizations such as NASP, NABP, BoPs, etc. to further refine the definition of the ‘Specialty Pharmacy Scope of Practice’ with the hopes of future standardization of practice/patient care.”