Six insights driving the evolution of FormularyDecisions®

By Tasmina Hydery, Sara Linnerooth

Xcenda team members share unique perspectives as former users turned platform experts
Coworkers at meeting

FormularyDecisions® occupies a unique position serving healthcare decision makers and biopharma companies in the product evaluation space. We spoke to two current employees, Tasmina Hydery and Sara Linnerooth, who shared how their previous experiences as users inform their current roles shaping the next generation of the platform.

Q: Can you share some background about your role before coming to Xcenda?

Tasmina Hydery, PharmD, MBA, BCGP, assistant director, scientific, Xcenda: I'm a pharmacist by training. I was a clinical consultant pharmacist with a major academic medical school, where I worked with health plans on formulary management decisions and recommendations. I also participated in budget-impact forecasting for products that were coming down the pipeline. I monitored the pipeline so we could prepare our clients for agents that would impact them from both a financial and a formulary management perspective.

Sara Linnerooth, PharmD, assistant director, managed markets, Xcenda
: Immediately prior to joining Xcenda, I worked at a startup pharmacy benefit manager. I developed and managed their formulary while building out a formulary management tool.

I started my career as a clinical pharmacist for a mid-sized pharmacy benefit manager. I was responsible for all formulary and utilization management and presented to the pharmacy and therapeutics (P&T) committee. In between, I worked at a healthcare technology company, where I evaluated therapeutic equivalency across 72 different therapeutic categories and discussed savings opportunities for our client's pharmacy benefit, as well as a health plan, where I supported the individual and family line of business, including 14 different accountable care organizations across eight states.

Q: How was your former team first introduced to FormularyDecisions? Was there a catalyst that made you a subscriber?

Tasmina Hydery: I learned about FormularyDecisions in 2014 when I picked up a flyer at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy conference. I saw it was a free resource, so I signed up.

The potential for efficiency in the product review process stood out to me. The bread and butter of FormularyDecisions was being able to request and receive biopharma company dossiers without having to reach out individually to each medical information department. Often, as a clinical consultant pharmacist, I would review multiple products across different therapeutic areas at the same time. For each biopharma company, I would have to share information about myself to justify why I needed to the access the dossier.

I thought, "If there's this system and all I have to do is click a button to request a dossier and then it gets delivered to me, that's going to be a time saver."

Sara Linnerooth: I used FormularyDecisions at all my previous organizations in some capacity. Like Tasmina, awareness from AMCP cued me into the platform. What kept me as a user on FormularyDecisions is the enhanced capabilities, such as therapeutic area monograph templates, to help with on-going P&T work.

Acquiring e-dossiers would begin as a conversation with the client sales team at a pharmacy benefit manager. I would need to wait to be connected to the appropriate person and it was a long turn-around, so I was drawn in by the fact I could just request an e-dossier and sometimes have it within the same day.

Q: Can you quantify how much time FormularyDecisions saves users?

Tasmina Hydery: When I did pipeline monitoring, we might spend two hours looking up drug information on a pre-approval product by sifting through several different resources, such as, biopharma company press releases, going on the their websites, going to clinicaltrials.gov, etc. Opening a Product Snapshot on FormularyDecisions takes a few minutes. Reading through the content takes 10-15 minutes, depending on how in depth you review it.

Q: What are some other ways FormularyDecisions speeds up the decision making process?

Tasmina Hydery: Formulary Coverage Insights, a tool that pulls data on health plan coverage on the pharmacy and medical sides from Managed Markets Insights & Technology, is beneficial. Many healthcare decision makers pull this information manually, which takes a fair amount of time. Now, users can access an aggregate of how health plans are covering a particular product and what types of restrictions are in place, including prior authorization, step therapy, etc. It can serve as a gut check for how you're thinking of approaching a particular product for formulary.

"If there's this system and all I have to do is click a button to request a dossier and then it gets delivered to me, that's going to be a time saver."

Tasmina Hydery
Sara Linnerooth: I think for me it was mostly the eDossier. I found the platform intuitive enough to quickly access that information, which is a wealth of clinical data beyond the package insert. Prior to FormularyDecisions, I would start with the package insert as the first initial look at the product, dig deeper into the e-dossier, and then go to primary literature and tertiary resources for clinical evidence. Shortening the time to receive the e-dossier, which was my starting point to build a monograph, helped in decision making.
 
Q: How would you promote FormularyDecisions to your former colleagues?

Tasmina Hydery: Initially when I signed up not all my team members knew about FormularyDecisions. For us, it was nice to know there was another resource that continues to be developed and enhanced for use among the healthcare decision maker and payer community. You don't have to be an AMCP member. Your company doesn't have to pay for it. It's just an extra added resource.

It wasn't going to replace everything that we used, but we might be able to find information there we couldn't find elsewhere, like the e-dossiers which are exclusive to FormularyDecisions. No other website has that offering.

Sara Linnerooth: I would echo the free resource aspect. I was an advocate for FormularyDecisions, starting early and then carrying it forward in my other organizations. Even when I didn't have a direct formulary decision maker role, I would encourage the other clinical pharmacists to use it, explaining it had great clinical information or baseline for getting started.

Pharmacy students have access to a wealth of clinical resources while in school, but I've found FormularyDecisions isn't one typically in their toolkits. So, I advocate for them to use it, especially with it being a free resource. Once they're out of school, they're subject to whatever resources their company provides, but they can carry FormularyDecisions with them.

Q: In your current role at Xcenda, working directly for FormularyDecisions, what did you push for to make the platform better for users?
Tasmina Hydery: It was an enlightening transition to go from a user to somebody working on the platform. On the payer engagement team, I lead efforts to recruit new users on the platform and increase engagement among our existing users.

One of the things that we've improved significantly over the past year is timely availability of information on pre-approval products, drugs that are still being investigated by a biopharma company and haven't been approved yet by the FDA. We've partnered with clinical pharmacists to build Product Snapshots that provide summaries of prevalence of the indication or disease state, competitive landscape, and lastly, what the P&T considerations might be.

It gives users food for thought of how they might want to contract out a medication or manage the product on the formulary if they recommend prior-authorization restrictions. With many high-cost specialty products in the pipeline, formulary management is something our users actively consider.

We are also revamping the FormularyDecisions newsletter and Sara brought a lot of value to that initiative. How do we showcase the content that users would like and how do we minimize the number clicks required to get there? We work to make pertinent information on the platform more readily accessible.

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