“I’M A TRENDS person,” says Dea Belazi, Pharm.D. ’01, founder and CEO of Pennsylvania-based pharmacy benefits management company AscellaHealth. “I like to build instead of maintain. I’ve always been fortunate to have opportunities to create new niches and technologies that can make an impact, save money, and help the industry evolve.” In his keynote address at this year’s Seminar by the Sea in March, Belazi spoke about specialty pharmacy, just one area where he sees growing opportunities for pharmacists. He shares some of his thoughts:
On the future of pharmacy: There’s a glaring opportunity for community pharmacy to become more of a health center—vaccines, blood pressure, wearables. It will be more than filling a prescription; it will be helping to fill that primary care role.
On specialty pharmacy: It’s become bigger and more impactful. If you pretend it isn’t happening, you’ll be a dinosaur left behind. If you don’t have the knowledge or experience, access it through reading, continuing education, and seminars to get up to speed.
On wearables: As people adopt them––for example, maybe it’s an insulin pump that talks to your watch and phone to manage insulin levels and communicate with your doctor––these technologies have the possibility to make an impact on adherence in real time.
Advice to young alums: Pharmacy is a great profession for many reasons, but it gives you the chance to really learn and understand how the health system works. Get involved in the bigger picture so that you can be innovators.