Are Academic Medical Centers the next Blockbuster Video?

Who doesn’t remember Blockbuster Video? Millennials for one have no idea what a Blockbuster Video is. The hell you say – it wasn’t that long ago and I loved that place! Blockbuster, founded in 1985, grew to over 8,000 stores across the United States. If your town was cool, you had a Blockbuster. However, the market shifted and some very savvy companies came along and were able to squeeze Blockbuster out. Namely Netflix came along and started delivering DVD movies in the mail. No longer could your title get sold out – you just had to create a list and as Emeril says (good 90’s reference)….Bam! You had a video. No personal touch – just convenience. Netflix and Video On Demand services pushed Blockbuster out, and they ended up filing for bankruptcy in 2010. Blockbuster never successfully adapted, they didn’t know how to serve the changing demands of their customer base, and ultimately lost all of it customers to competition.

And all of that is a distant memory…so could be your Academic Medical Centers.

So how does that tie into Academic Medical Centers (AMCs)? AMCs provide the vast majority of clinical care nationally to the most chronically-ill patient populations – oncology, multiple sclerosis, infectious disease, rheumatoid arthritis, transplant and cystic fibrosis. However, Fortune 100 companies like the big three – Caremark, Express Scripts and Optum – have successfully carved-out a $200 billion per year market related exclusively to the care of these same chronically-ill patients. That market is referred to broadly as “specialty pharmacy”.

Right now you’re saying that AMC’s do so much more than the act of selling videos and you are totally right, but it’s clear that Fortune 100 companies have aligned with health plans and drug manufacturers across the country to establish very narrow, and in some cases exclusive payor and drug networks, leaving AMCs on the outside looking in. AMC’s are getting “Netflixed” by payors and PBMs – they are aligned with keeping AMCs out.

This is a simple description of the alignment…

Here’s the really good news!!!! Care matters, patient outcomes matter and AMCs matter. AMCs are the only providers positioned to properly and effectively care for these patients through fully integrated clinical/pharmacy care. An AMC-owned onsite specialty pharmacy program permits seamless therapy management via shared EMR access, customized clinical/pharmacy integration and high-touch patient care interventions.

The specialty market is evolving once again and it is demanding that AMCs take back all components of clinic and pharmacy care for their most chronically-ill patients. Shifting this market back to AMCs is a must for improving patient outcomes while lowering the overall cost of care.

How else can we take patients back for AMCs?

All ideas welcome at

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