“Gold bagging” is a relatively new term, but it has taken hold in the specialty pharmacy space. The Health System Owned Specialty Pharmacy Alliance (HOSP) has led the way in embracing the gold bagging terminology. HOSP is confident that over the next five years, the terminology will become firmly established and regarded as the best depiction of how specialty pharmacy drugs move within distribution channels in the health system owned specialty pharmacy industry.
While there are other various terms used to describe different “bagging” methods, including clear bagging, white bagging, and brown bagging from start to finish, “gold bagging” – akin to a gold medal in the Olympics – best illustrates the higher level of drug delivery and improved patient service that the integrated pharmacy model provides.
Generally speaking, “bagging” refers to the physical packaging of a dispensed drug(s) and how it is delivered to the care setting for administration to a patient. Gold bagging represents the most holistic, patient-centric, and best practice approach because it is a more controlled process within a health system with fewer potential failure points. Under a gold bagging method, the health system typically controls the purchase, receipt, preparation, and delivery to the point of care within its own closed environment. In this ideal approach, the integrated specialty pharmacy dispenses and prepares the drug from its own inventory to its health system’s clinic; the health system-employed Clinical Pharmacists utilize the same electronic medical record (EMR) as a patient’s Clinician providers to share notes view lab and medication adherence results, and make any appropriate patient-specific therapeutic recommendations to the Clinicians. Because of this high-touch environment, the term “gold bagging” acknowledges and represents the essential Pharmacist-added value to the medication use and delivery process, ensuring safe, efficient, timely, and accurate drug administration. The net result is a method with fewer failure points, less wastage, and most importantly, better patient outcomes.
It’s important to remember that what often derails medical treatments are all the “little things” – logistics, packing, shipping, and delivery issues – especially when the drug is mandated by a payor or PBM to be sourced from a supplier in another state or region. The concept of gold bagging emphasizes how many of these potential failure points are mitigated or removed when on-site Pharmacies are integrated within the health system – including physically, logistically, and through shared EMRs – into the patient experience. Once the integrated specialty pharmacy possesses the drug, the process typically runs very smoothly. Providing more patient access and more patient choice in their own care, while embracing the clinical linkages between the Pharmacist and the prescribers, are what help to achieve the best clinical care.
A Safer, More Efficient Answer
Unfortunately, safe and timely delivery of healthcare prescriptions is not always a given. With multiple steps and parties involved, the right dosage, delivery location, or even prescription types can be lost or delayed along the way. However, gold bagging strives to eliminate as much of this room for error as possible. When a prescription is filled at a health system owned specialty pharmacy by the pharmacy staff, it is packaged and prepared on site, and delivered to the administration location. The administration location is typically on the same health system campus as the specialty pharmacy – like a hospital, office, or an infusion clinic. When we or our loved ones are sick and in need of a prescription, we all want to avoid as many “hoops” to jump through as possible to get the necessary medication to who needs it as soon as possible. We expect delivery of the prescription to be timely and accurate. Gold bagging describes the safest, most efficient answer to achieving this, because it saves time, money, and eliminates “hoops” to jump through for the patient, the doctor, and the provider. Gold bagging means that the patient is afforded the best opportunity for the best outcome.
HOSP is a network of leading health systems and the businesses that support them who advocate for the better patient care and outcomes associated with fully integrated health system specialty pharmacies. HOSP believes that health systems are best positioned to provide the highest quality care to their specialty patients in the outpatient setting.
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