Profiling Agilum’s experts: Charlene Dawson

Charlene Dawson, Solution Product Executive

Charlene Dawson, who started at Agilum in late 2020, brings four decades of pharmacy expertise to her role as Solution Product Executive.

She honed her clinical skills working in pediatric, med/surg and long-term acute care hospital settings, and she previously worked as the director of pharmacy at several Texas hospitals. She began her career in retail pharmacy.

Dawson recently moved back to her hometown in East Texas and spends her free time traveling to visit her five children and five grandchildren.

You’ve had a long career in pharmacy, from retail to the clinical hospital side. How has the pharmacy profession changed over that time?

When I first went into pharmacy practice, there was a lot of discussion around getting physicians to allow pharmacists to dose Vancomycin. We felt we could help patients because we understood the pharmacokinetics of the drug. Today, pharmacists are being invited into many clinical practice areas because we have proven the benefits we bring to both providers and patients.

Clinical pharmacy has found traction in the fact that we can provide expertise. As medicine has become more and more complex, it’s impossible for a physician to be able to own all the nuances behind every discipline. It really takes a team approach.

In addition, the process of teaching that role to new practitioners coming on board, who desire to specialize in an area, whether they are pharmacy students or residents now takes a  much larger time commitment than it did 40 years ago.

What attracted you to Agilum and its products?

I spent about 13 years of my career as a director of pharmacy, where you are tasked with the gambit —what to buy, how to guarantee you get paid, how to reduce costs through appropriate medication management and formulary selection and educating physicians about medication use. The responsibilities are vast and when I saw CRCA P&T demonstrated, I had flashbacks to all these points in my career where it would have helped me do a better job.

If I had this tool, it would have saved me hours and hours of work trying to pull together reports from different databases, analyzing those reports and coming up with information that I could present to the C-suite in a manner that was logical, organized, and transparent in a way that allows for      expedited decision making.

So really, what excited me about seeing CRCA is the fact that I can tell you exactly all the ways I could have used it. One small example is doing exploratory research for residents who are trying to identify a major project to do for their residency program, sometimes it would take weeks to get the data together, review it and then try to figure out a good research question around the information. Now, we do that whole process in literally seconds with CRCA.

And before, because of that time lag, that data might have already been out of date, and not reflective of real-world conditions by the time you’re analyzing it, right?

Absolutely, by the time you got it all together, another six months or a year has gone by, and there’s more information that you haven’t considered.

What are you focused on at Agilum as the solution product executive?

Primarily what I’m focused on is using the experience that I’ve had, both with 340B and as a pharmacy director, who worked within the system and knows intricately what pharmacy directors today are facing. I try to help the developers by giving input for what a user is going to want to see, want to do, and the workflow they will use, so we can build it efficiently and improve the user experience. If it is clunky and the information is hard to get to, then that diminishes the value, whereas when it flows smoothly and presents information in a way that makes sense to a brain doing that type of work, then that helps to promote the marketability.

You have also studied organizational leadership. How does that influence your role?

When my youngest child graduated from high school, I decided to return to college. By this time, I was already the director of pharmacy at Medical Center Hospital (in Odessa, Texas). I looked for something that would help me be better at what I did and found a master’s program in Organizational Leadership. I then transitioned into the PhD program for Leadership Studies, which I completed in 2016 while working full time as a DOP. Understanding different leadership styles and processes, and how individuals, teams and organizations function is necessary to guide the adoption of change.

CRCA is a leading-edge product that will change how facilities manage the medication process. Realizing the full benefit will require users to alter current management patterns and adopt a new way of thinking. We can have the best ideas and the best tools, but if we do not have users who can see the value and embrace the process change required to use them, then all the rest of the work that has gone into developing the product is in vain.