Behind the Scenes at Accredo: Spotlight on an Extraordinary Team

Nov 14, 2023

Our Commitment to Clinical Excellence

At Accredo, we take great pride in our commitment to clinical excellence, delivering highly specialized care that guides our patients through the complexities of their condition. Our overarching objectives are to ensure the utmost precision in dispensing specialty medications, enhance the accessibility and affordability of life-saving therapies, and provide steadfast support to our valued partners and patients throughout the healthcare ecosystem. To attain these objectives, we rely on an exceptional team of tenured individuals who dedicate themselves daily to revolutionizing the landscape of specialty pharmacy.

To highlight the remarkable contributions of Accredo’s leaders and team members, we are embarking on a series of posts to illuminate the unsung heroes who operate behind the scenes. Through the series, we will delve deeper into their motivations, their daily inspirations, and the profound “why” that fuels their commitment to their work.

In today’s featured spotlight, we turn to another remarkable leader: Mary Dorholt, PharmD. In her role as managing director and clinical practice lead, Mary shapes Accredo’s patient care model. Her dedication to clinical excellence and her commitment to advancing patient care is at the heart of what we do at Accredo.

Mary Dorholt, PharmD, and her team of clinical architects work behind the scenes to serve as the heartbeat of Accredo’s patient care model

Q: How long have you been with Accredo?

MD: Well, if we’re considering all steps in the journey, I’ve been a part of this organization for a solid 27 years! As for my current role, it’s been a decade.

Q: What inspired you to pursue your career at Accredo?

MD: My career has some interesting twists but I’ve always felt the desire to have a positive impact on patient care. This began when I was working as a staff pharmacist at a county hospital in my hometown of Minneapolis. I absolutely loved my job and thought I’d stay forever.

During this time, I was also pursuing my Doctor of Pharmacy degree and I had the opportunity to spend four weeks at a start-up pharmacy benefit manager (PBM). This was over 30 years ago when PBMs were just emerging, and their role in managing formularies, networks and drug utilization was relatively new. Despite my plan to stay at the county hospital, I felt drawn to step outside my comfort zone and try something different. So, I decided to take a leap with the job at the PBM, and I’m glad I did! I’ve had the opportunity to explore a number of different aspects of the PBM business since then. But I always have found satisfaction in translating complex clinical information to help patients, colleagues, and our payer clients.

Q: Tell me more about your current role as managing director and clinical practice lead, and how it benefits those Accredo serves.

MD: I oversee a team that I like to think of as the “clinical architects” of the Accredo organization. We essentially serve as the clinical nexus. We’re deeply involved in a huge variety of initiatives that impact our patients. While some of our work is visible, much of it occurs behind the scenes. One of our primary responsibilities is developing the clinical care programs that support patients on their journey with specialty medications.

We have to always be on top of the latest clinical developments within each therapy area, determining what information is crucial for patients, what data we need to assess care quality, and how to coach and educate patients effectively. This patient-centric approach is at the core of everything we do. Additionally, we contribute to the development of digital programs, and we work closely with our business teams to anticipate future services and care models based on drug pipeline insights.

My team also initiates research projects to evaluate the effectiveness of our care, and we actively participate in accreditation efforts and collaborate on various clinical aspects initiatives across the organization. Whether it’s partnering with our business partners on product development or engaging with payers to provide insights, we have a broad range of responsibilities that touch on every clinical aspect of our business. Our role adjusts in size and scope based on the nature of the projects we’re involved in, making us a versatile and essential part of Accredo’s commitment to clinical excellence.

Q: Can you tell me a little more about your team’s size and make-up?

MD: Our team is made up of 15 dedicated professionals, including pharmacists, nurses, and a dietitian with a specialized focus on oncology nutritional care. Each clinician focuses on a limited number of therapy areas – for example I have one pharmacist who only focuses on oncology. I’m proud to say that I would consider the clinicians on my team to be among the top experts in their therapy areas.

In addition to having cutting-edge clinical expertise, another critical attribute of my team is their ability to convey complex information effectively and educate others on clinical topics. It’s important to recognize that although we are a specialty pharmacy, not everyone in the organization has a clinical background or understands the intricacies that only years of practice teaches. That means my team must excel in translating and teaching, making the complex information accessible to a broader audience. The ability to bridge the gap between clinical knowledge and practical application is a unique skill set that not all clinicians possess, but it’s a vital part of what we do. It’s also critical to effective interactions outside the company with plan sponsors and other audiences.

Q: What motivates you to get up and come to work every day?

MD: The continuously captivating and intriguing subject matter of specialty pharmacy is unlike anything else for a science nerd like me, and the knowledge that we are making a significant difference for the most critically ill patients – these are powerful motivators. I find such inspiration in reading our patient care stories and hearing about their challenges and the ways we’ve been able to help.

There’s a sense of fulfillment in knowing that I’ve made a positive impact. Specialty pharmacy offers numerous ways to help patients every day, and while I may not work directly with patients, I’m indirectly contributing to their well-being through the clinical programs my team develops. I also get a lot of fulfilment out of working with my team to motivate them and make their jobs easier.

Q: What accomplishment in your career are you most proud of?

MD: It’s difficult to pinpoint a single pinnacle achievement. However, if I were to reflect on my career, I find great pride in the fact that I’ve built a remarkably strong and cohesive team over the past decade.

When I initially stepped into my current role, I was faced with the unique challenge of taking over a team whose leadership position had been vacant for a time. Organizationally, we were also combining the care models of two specialty pharmacies. From that starting point, I had to navigate the complexities of determining what the future clinical model should look like. It was a process of discovering how to align roles and create a cohesive vision for the team’s direction. Looking back to that point in my career and comparing it to where we are now, I’d say that’s a substantial achievement. There are even a couple of people on my team from the original group, and the fact that we’ve grown and evolved over the years is something I take immense pride in.

Q:What is your favorite professional quote?

MD: A thought that deeply resonates with me and often guides my approach is the philosophy of “be where you are.” This holds particular significance to me because it underscores the importance of presence and focus. In the whirlwind of professional life, it’s easy to become entangled in thoughts of the past or anxieties about the future. Multitasking can become a default mode, and it’s crucial to remind ourselves to stay in the present moment. I genuinely believe that people, including myself, need to cultivate the ability to be fully immersed in the moment. It’s prompted me to also commit to being fully present in my personal life, setting aside work-related stress, distractions and emails when spending quality time with my family.

Q: What is your favorite hobby or activities outside of work?

MD: It’s safe to say there’s not much I don’t like doing in my free time. A few of my favorites are cooking, knitting, reading, travel, enjoying live music and being outdoors. My husband and I are both very social people and we love doing just about anything with friends or our two children. One of the activities that gives me the most joy is hiking and spending time in the mountains of Colorado. Recently my husband and I, with a group of our friends, had the opportunity to see Sting at Red Rocks and ride motorcycles through the mountains! That checked a lot of boxes, and we created some great memories.

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