Q&A: Pharmacy’s Next-Generation Rising Star

Sam Stolpe, the first NACDS Foundation Executive Fellow, recently received a Next-Generation Pharmacy Rising Star award at an event held during the NACDS Total Store Expo. Established through a partnership of Parata Systems and Pharmacy Times, the Next-Generation Pharmacist program salutes pharmacy professionals in a variety of industry categories who are defining the future of pharmacy. Stolpe is currently the director of quality strategies with NACDS stakeholder Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA).
NACDS.org caught up with Stolpe this week to discuss his award and his thoughts on his past at the NACDS Foundation and what he’s excited about going forward.

Q: Congratulations on your award! What does it mean to you?

A: It was a really a terrific honor to be recognized in this capacity, not just for myself but for PQA. A lot of work has been done—by the PQA membership, including NACDS—in raising awareness around quality measures PQA has developed that are being used in the marketplace. The work ensures that frontline pharmacists are educated and able to use the tools that have been developed to impact quality measures.

Q: How did your experience as an NACDS Foundation Executive Fellow impact your career?

A: In 2010–2011, I served as the first NACDS Foundation Executive Fellow, which really laid the groundwork on the work that I’m doing now. It was a terrific experience; I can`t speak highly enough of it. The programs we developed were centered around improving patient care and public health through care provided by community pharmacists.
We developed impactful new research on primary medication non-adherence, which PQA further developed as a result of that work we did. The Foundation has been a front-runner in some of the ideas around quality measurement and supporting the efforts of the PQA in making sure that we’re using safe and appropriate medication-use measures and highlighting the patient health impact that pharmacists can make at the point of care.

Q: What kinds of trends are you observing in the pharmacy right now that you’re excited about?

A: From PQA’s perspective, the most exciting thing that I’m seeing inside of the marketplace is both the uptake of PQA’s measures inside of large governmental programs. For example, PQA`s measures already account for close to 50 percent of any given health plan Part D sponsors’ CMS star rating. Having 50 percent of the measures by weight account for a plan’s star rating really gives pharmacists the opportunity to make an impact on quality measures that are important to health plans.

Q: Are you optimistic about where pharmacy is headed?

A: Absolutely. I am optimistic and I think there are really good reasons to be optimistic. We’re seeing the utilization of these measures that PQA has developed, and pharmacy has demonstrated that it has a direct impact on the marketplace.