Women of PDX: A Sit Down with Leann Lewis, Director of Industry Relations
You may recognize her name from our monthly Industry Updates posts, but do you know how Leann Lewis, Director of Industry Relations at PDX, got her start in healthcare? With the help of a great mentor and a growing passion for healthcare, Leann became an industry expert for not only PDX, but for our customers.
What did your journey in healthcare look like before coming to PDX?
LL: “Actually, I somewhat stumbled into healthcare. I was working for a company installing systems in auto part stores. While studying to take the CPA exam, I searched for a short-term position that didn’t require travel. That’s when I accepted a position on the support desk with a pharmacy software vendor while I completed my CPA. By the time I had passed the CPA exam, I was managing their product support department, and I was hooked. My prospects in healthcare were much more appealing than spending 90 hours a week auditing accounting records.
While there, I managed a number of departments including conversions, training, and design. When the company was sold, I looked to a friend and mentor, Ben Loy, for advice. He helped me transition to PDX, and when he eventually retired, he left me with some of his responsibilities and a position I truly love. For that, I am eternally grateful.”
Can you explain your role at PDX?
LL: “Primarily, as Director of Industry Relations, my role is to monitor what is going on in the industry and to educate our staff, leadership, and pharmacy partners on what changes are on the horizon and what preparations may need to be made. I monitor regulation, legislation, and industry standards like NCPDP for both existing compliance, and upcoming changes. I spend a lot of time researching, reading, and documenting.”
You give an industry update to our customers every month, what do think are some of the more important topics that you touch on and why?
LL: “I know I can’t cover everything in 30 minutes a month, but first, I try to touch on items that directly impact both PDX development and pharmacy procedure. A few examples are the ever-
changing requirements for Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs reporting, controlled substance policy, and new prescription labeling requirements.
Second, I touch on hot topics in the industry, for example DIR (Direct and Indirect Remuneration Fees), Hazardous Drugs, and Track and Trace. I encourage call attendees to contact their legislators or policy makers to submit comments to potentially affect the outcomes, and share resources or websites that I find useful.”
What do you enjoy most about working at PDX?
LL: “PDX has provided me an opportunity to do a lot of what I love to do, with a diverse and talented group of people. I’ve made contacts and friends both internal and external to PDX that has helped me grow both personally and professionally. It’s a pleasure working for a company that is truly dedicated to their pharmacy partners to provide timely and innovative solutions to help our pharmacies provide better services to their patients.”
What are your thoughts on the progress of women in leadership roles in healthcare?
LL: “I’m so thankful to those who worked for the progress over the years to enact change – from when girls were encouraged to become nurses or teachers, to including pharmacists or physicians as possibilities. But I also strongly believe in hard work and personal responsibility. Women should never expect special consideration just because a woman has never held a certain position in leadership. The best way to advance is to work hard to demonstrate their skill set, take ownership of their career, and earn the respect that enables the advancement.”
What is some advice you would give a young person about to start their career in the healthcare industry?
LL: “You don’t have to suffer through a class in biochemistry to have a career in healthcare. There are many paths to get there, which may or may not include higher education.
Find something you enjoy – in my case, things like the recognizing new, impactful legislation and guiding it from a problem to a solution.
The healthcare industry will never go away. There will likely always be a place for you if you continue to learn. Keep looking and you’ll find that perfect opportunity.”