Customer spotlight: Blue Sky Specialty Pharmacy, Part 1
In an industry that seems designed to lock the little guy out, Blue Sky Specialty Pharmacy is thriving. One thing we love about this small specialty pharmacy is the leadership team’s ability to think big, whether they’re confronting the challenges of today’s healthcare environment or preparing for tomorrow. For their partnership with AmerisourceBergen, that means the Blue Sky team is nimble and ready to get creative when it comes to trying new solutions and exploring new ideas together.
We talked with Blue Sky’s leadership team to learn how they’re setting themselves apart from the competition, what growth looks like for a small specialty pharmacy, and how AmerisourceBergen is helping.
Q: What is it that that makes Blue Sky so special?
Sara Kazzi, Marketing Director, Blue Sky Specialty Pharmacy: We put a lot of emphasis on culture here. We’re here to do a job, but we want people to believe in our brand and believe in what they are doing. This shows with the level of service that we can attain when people are happy. It shows in the actual output of what we’re able to achieve.
Matt Walsh, Chief Financial Officer, Blue Sky Specialty Pharmacy: We have what we call the Three Ps here: payers, providers, and patients. The other Three Ps that we talk about all the time are people, people, and people. At the end of the day, this is a people company. And so our culture is really, really people-centric. It's all about making people feel good about coming to Blue Sky, having fun while we’re here, rewarding people for the job they do, and making sure they feel secure in their job. We have great benefits. We have extremely high NPS scores. If you were to walk into our office right now, there's probably a birthday or a pizza party going on. We have that type of environment.
And it's probably the thing that Curt spends most of his time on these days as the company is growing, ensuring that we don't lose that as we grow. Three and a half or four years ago, we had seven or eight employees. Now, we have 75 employees and while it's unrealistic to think that every single one of those employees will be “bit by the Blue Sky bug,” that's certainly our goal. We want everyone here to be fired up about being here.
Q: As a small specialty pharmacy, how do you differentiate yourselves?
Sara Kazzi: We are a company that is very forward-thinking and technology driven, so our ultimate goal is to optimize the experience of everyone we work with. That’s not just with patients and providers; we want to have manufacturers and payers seamlessly involved in that process, as well.
Curt Nesbitt, CEO and Founder, Blue Sky Pharmacy: Without hesitation, I’d say our culture. It is disruptive, progressive, and the definition of "indie." It's empowering, it’s fun, it's unique, it's rewarding, and it's sometimes a little weird. However, a good culture isn't the same thing as a good business. So what really makes us special is patient care and patient management. We provide high-quality care with efficient service that results in industry leading reduction in healthcare costs while improving outcomes and revolutionizing the patient journey. This is our core value and mission. We are here to shake things up.
Our culture is a huge differentiator for us, but we need opportunities to share who we are externally since we are small. We think of ourselves like Apple or Google when they first entered the market. We’re innovative. We’re indies, but we’re relatively new to the market. We’re small. And so having help from someone like AmerisourceBergen to magnify our story makes conversations with manufacturers much easier. It’s the same with practices. As we grow and expand into new geographical areas, we meet prescribers who don't know anything about us. We’re dealing with payers who don’t know us. What we’d love is for people to know our story because of our culture, because of some of the innovative things we’re doing, and to ultimately be recognized as one of the top specialty pharmacies in the nation for that.
Matt Walsh: From our perspective, what sets us apart, is all about extending that reason to believe to manufacturers and providers. We feel like our relationship with AmerisourceBergen provides that reason to believe to those folks that are hearing our story for the first time. We’re leveraging AmerisourceBergen’s scale and reach and industry leadership, but we’re maintaining everything that’s great about our culture. We’re patient centric. We’ve got the metrics to back that up. We have the technology platforms that can really drive a lot of the initiatives manufacturers and providers want to bring into their organizations.
So while we can check all the boxes – accreditation, product access, etc. – manufacturers really benefit when they layer on the unmatched patient and provider experience we deliver. It’s different. It's unique. It feels a little different than any specialty pharmacy they've been involved with.
Q: How have you grown over the last few years? How would you like to continue growing?
Matt Walsh: We're selling on two different fronts. We have a team that's out in the field, working with doctors' offices, asking for referrals. We really lean on service. Blue Sky is a growing organization, but because of the way we're structured, we can feel small, and we can feel very white glove. Our culture and infrastructure are designed to allow us to scale our operation but still have a very high touch, small company feel. Practices really appreciate that, and we see that through our growth. We've grown this business over the last five plus years, one referral at a time, and we'll continue to do that. We love our referring providers for giving us a chance and then reaping the benefits we bring to the table for them.
At the manufacturer level, we have salespeople talking to manufacturers, whether it's about drug access, OID, fee for service, or any number of avenues that will ultimately help us grow our organization. And then we have the chance to tell our story.