Creating a systemwide pharmacy network

For Elie Bahou, senior vice president and chief pharmacy officer, Providence, implementing a systemwide pharmacy network was the path to optimizing Providence’s operational performance. Working with Vizient, Bahou and his pharmacy team created the Providence Health Pharmacy Network to oversee pharmacy operations across the entire system. This network-enabled aligned structure created:

  • A corporate-level pharmacy system team of pharmacists, physicians and drug supply chain and utilization management specialists overseeing operations for the entire network
  • A group of seven pharmacy executives, one from each of Providence’s seven regions, who also serve on the corporate-level pharmacy system team
  • An embedded pharmacist in each of Providence’s clinical institutes, which mirror the medical specialties offered by the system, to serve as a resource to physicians and to communicate the system’s pharmacy initiatives to the physicians
  • A standardized drug formulary that’s part of the same electronic health record (EHR) system now used by all Providence care delivery sites to inform prescribers which drugs are formulary-approved for their patients
  • A standardized drug purchasing and inventory management platform that ensures compliance with system-wide purchasing processes and drug inventory levels

Check out our infographic to find out how Providence leveraged its purchasing power and adopted biosimilars to save $8.5 million in seven months or see how Providence created more value for prescribers and patients by reading the case study.

Operational improvements as a result of the partnership

Clinical governance

At Providence, pharmacists and doctors work hand-in-glove to make data-driven formulary decisions based on clinical need, drug effectiveness and cost. 


The network design creates pathways for the system leadership team to collaborate and communicate pharmacy initiatives to purchasing and prescribing sites as well as creates pathways for individual hospitals to share best practices.

Cost reduction

Savings emanate from leveraging the group purchasing power of 53 hospitals and single-sourcing purchases from one manufacturer. Savings also come from drug conversions such as switching from higher cost biologics to lower-cost but equally effective biosimilars.

"The first step was to optimize our combined $2.5 billion in drug spend through formulary alignment. What this meant was to bring our inpatient and outpatient pharmacies under the leadership of our system pharmacy."


Elie Bahou
Senior Vice President and Chief Pharmacy Officer, Providence

Elie Bahou

52 - 61.00%

Biosimilar adoption rates for four biosimilar drugs by prescribing physicians


Savings from consolidate flu vaccine purchases for 2020-2021 flu season


Annualized savings by converting to biosimilar Udenyca from biologic Neulasta


Savings across seven molecules in two years using biosimilars

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Mittal Sutaria, Pharma. D Vice President Contracting & Program Services, Vizient
Mittal Sutaria, Pharma. D

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