Facing Systemic Challenges

Anne Cost wants to ensure people get the medication they need, when they need it.

When Anne Cost, a representative for a large biotech company, discovered that patients weren’t getting their life-saving treatments. She took action. To help, Cost reached out via nurses to tell patients about financial assistance available from her company to pay for their infusion treatments.

Aware that many of the barriers patients face are reflective of systemic problems, Anne wasn’t satisfied trying to help patients as one-offs. Instead, she wanted to go the distance. This is why she decided to pursue a Master of Science in Healthcare Management.

“Stories of individual patients are what stick with me. Like one woman who couldn’t meet the co-pay for our medication and would delay receiving it until her disease progressed to where her pain was unbearable,” Anne said. She said the story is particularly sad because her company offers a benefit that covers costs for people in need. But like many patients, this woman had not been made aware of the benefit.

“Wanting to fix that is the biggest motivator,” Anne said. Her decades of experience in biotech sales and account management provided an education in the challenges patients face in navigating our health care system.

“In pursuing an advanced degree, I wanted to better understand the pressures of integrated delivery networks and others across the healthcare continuum, what they prioritize and why,” she said.

Anne completed her master’s degree in 2019. The experience more than fulfilled her hopes, she said. “There was so much value in what we did -- the course work as well as engaging with academic peers representing IDNs, payors and others from the region,” she said.

Anne said she is hopeful -- not only for her own career but for finding solutions that improve outcomes for patients.

“We all want better care, better health, and reduced costs. I’m prepared to work more collaboratively with our customers to identify and build bridges around the gaps that hinder our collective ability,” she said.