It’s that time again: The 340B Coalition Winter Conference, known as the can’t-miss gathering of covered entities, health care providers, pharmacy and pharmacy service providers, drug manufacturers, government agencies, and other organizations dedicated to driving health equity for underserved populations via the 340B drug discount program, is just around the corner.
Over the course of three days, the event draws thousands of industry insiders, features a full program of educational, networking, and demo sessions, and showcases approximately 70 exhibitors. But with so much on the agenda—during a critical year for insights and collaboration into the changing 340B world—how can attendees get the most bang for their collective bucks?
Find out below as Avita Care Solutions leaders (and veteran 340B Coalition Conference-goers) Michael Yount and Lee Horner weigh in with tips on using the event to find thought leaders and make lasting partnerships. And don’t miss their bonus content: a comprehensive checklist including what to look for in a 340B solution provider, including litmus tests for ascertaining whether a vendor has the right stuff.
How to make the most out of the 340B Coalition Conference
Less than 36 hours (not counting sleep). More than five dozen formal opportunities to learn about best practices, solutions, policy, and more. Approximately 70 exhibitors spanning a space the equivalent of about half a football field. And let’s not forget those 10 cocktail parties you were invited to. Here’s how to make the most of your 340B Coalition Conference experience:
Plan ahead: If you haven’t put your conference strategy together yet, it’s time to get moving. Whether you’re an exhibitor, speaker, or regular attendee, map out your schedule before the event. “You can’t do it all, even if you wanted to,” says Avita CEO Michael Yount. “Especially if you’re a first-time attendee, review both the agenda and the exhibition floorplan, then figure out what sessions and vendors you want to hit. Schedule your meetings in advance to ensure a dedicated time slot.”
Be prepared: Remember, everyone’s time is limited, so make sure you have everything on hand to get the info you need. “Once you’ve mapped out your schedule, outline what you’re looking to learn at the conference,” Yount says. “Show up with a list of questions and a way to transfer and store information for later review and follow-up. There will be a lot going on, and the better prepared you are, the more you’ll get out of it.”
Think outside of the box: While the exhibition hall and seminars are undoubtedly important features of the convention, they’re far from the only chances to develop partnerships and gather insights. “Finding other opportunities to collaborate and network with others who understand your goals and challenges also drives the value of the conference,” says Avita Chief Growth Officer Lee Horner. “For covered entity representatives, seeking out colleagues who are or have been in a similar situation is important.”
Build your extended team: Look at the conference as a channel to grow a 340B thought leadership circle you can depend on well into the future. “The event is a great way to build an extended team across the industry,” Horner says. “It’s not often you’ll find the opportunity to bring so many professionals together to talk about the health care challenges we’re all trying to solve today. Whenever you have a chance to meet with a group of individuals who could move your mission forward, you need to leverage it.”
Three criteria to look for in a 340B partner & how to know if they have the right stuff
Are you a covered entity hitting the 340B Coalition Conference in search of new solutions providers? Here are the considerations that should be at the top of your list, along with tips for making sure a potential partner has the chops to move your mission:
1. Experience: Before you take the plunge with a new 340B partner, be sure they don’t come up short on the expertise front. Finding an organization with not only experience in 340B program administration but also familiarity with providing pharmacy and clinical services is key. “The 340B program is incredibly complex and can be intimidating, especially when you factor in the pharmacy and health care arenas,” says Yount. “A covered entity’s focus should be on taking care of patients and growing its breadth of services while they let a trusted 340B partner administer the program for them.”
*Be sure to: Take a cue from a potential partner’s company representatives. “They should be very well versed in the value-add their organization can bring to your covered entity,” Yount says. “Look for a consistent message that you’re dealing with an organized, stable, and knowledgeable team.”
2. Credibility: When selecting a new solutions provider, do the legwork on how they score with other covered entities. “Look for a quality partner that is well respected in the industry and has the right coverage and capability to support your organization and the patients you serve,” Horner says. Don’t neglect to consider a vendor’s reputation across its entire scope of solutions. “Covered entities should consider the partnership from a holistic point of view,” Horner adds, “not just one asset of a service provider’s offerings.”
*Be sure to: Talk to the organization’s clients. “At Avita, we encourage any prospective partner to talk to our existing partners,” says Horner. Find out how they deliver on a strategic plan, their onboarding process, what’s in their technology stack, and their metrics for patient adherence and satisfaction (Humble brag: Avita’s adherence rate is 93.7% and its patient NPS score is 96%).
3. Community focus: Down to a few finalists? Don’t forget to assess how a potential partner interacts with the communities it serves. “Especially when caring for marginalized patients, health care is a localized initiative,” Yount says. “It’s crucial to find a partner that will be involved with patients not just in a clinical setting but also where they live, work, and socialize.”
*Be sure to: Ask a potential partner for examples of how they’re involved in the community. Request examples of co-marketed patient educational materials, a presence at local events and patient engagement opportunities, and how their team members take part in outreach activities in the local area.
Final thoughts: Bigger is not always better
Some final advice: When it comes to potential 340B partners, don’t assume bigger is always better. “Going with the biggest vendor is not necessarily the right answer,” Horner says. “Instead, look for an organization that can meet your objectives. You want a partner who will roll up their sleeves and take the time to work with your entity hand in hand.”
In the end, a potential partner’s agility and focus eat organizational size for breakfast, Yount says. “What’s more important is a solution provider’s ability to be nimble, quickly respond, and provide tailored solutions that meet the needs of the covered entity, its patients, and its long-term mission.”
To learn more about how Avita Care Solutions is committed to promoting health equities by providing comprehensive, compassionate, and inclusive health care and pharmacy services to underserved communities, visit us in booth 203 at the 340B Coalition Winter Conference, or reach out to us today.
Michael Yount is chief executive officer at Avita Care Solutions.
Lee Horner is chief growth officer at Avita Care Solutions.