Quantitative Survey - Specialty Pharmacy at Leading Health Systems

Key Findings

  1. All responding LHS offer specialty pharmacy services, with most (78%) operating their own specialty pharmacy in-house.
    • Internal pharmacy staff is most commonly responsible for the administrative work associated with specialty pharmacy, as well as for communicating specialty pharmacy options to patients.
  2. Despite some challenges, expansion of specialty pharmacy operations remains a top strategic priority for 2018.
    • LHS report challenges around gaining access to limited distribution specialty drugs (LDDs) written from their hospitals as well as patient utilization, identification, and retention;
    • However, 54% of health systems say growing specialty pharmacy is a top 5 strategic priority for 2018.
  3. LHS see significant clinical and financial value in offering specialty pharmacy services.
    • A majority of health systems saw improvements in time to therapy (69%), patient approval (69%), physician approval (62%), and co-pay reduction (54%);
    • Over half (60%) of health systems claim topline specialty pharmacy revenue between $51 – 200 million.

Survey Objectives

  • Evaluate the structure of hospital-owned specialty pharmacies and coordinated care services among C-suite executives of Leading Health Systems (LHS);
  • Understand the barriers and challenges involved in operating a specialty pharmacy; and
  • Evaluate the ROI of current applications and additional value from future use cases.


Beginning in March 2018, The Health Management Academy (The Academy) conducted an online survey of Clinical and Financial Senior Executives of LHS regarding health system specialty pharmacy models. The 18 responding Chief Medical Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Oncology Leaders, and Chief Medical Informatics Officers represent health systems with a median revenue of $3.9 billion that own or operate 212 hospitals.