Alinea Group Spotlight Interview: Shrujal Patel
Shrujal Patel, Managing Partner at Alinea Group, was recently interviewed by 340B Report. He shares about his background, how he became involved in this space, and some advice for young professionals. Shrujal is an expert in implementing and optimizing strategic pharmacy initiatives to mitigate risk and enhance revenue, and he brings immense value to this field. Check out his full interview below.
1. Where did you grow up? Westbury, NY; a small town in Long Island about 20 miles east of New York City.
2. Where did you go to college/graduate school? I obtained my degree in Pharmacy and Masters in Drug Regulatory Affairs and Health Policy from The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. I received my MBA from Babson College. [Fun fact: Babson has been ranked #1 in Entrepreneurship for the last 25 years and is located in Wellesley, Massachusetts].
3. Tell us about your favorites:
Food: I could probably come up with a delicious eclectic dish that makes me sound more sophisticated than I really am; but the truth is, I am a pizza guy. Breakfast – Lunch and Dinner.
Movie: “Favorite” is tough for me, but I will never change the channel if “Miracle” is on. Every theme of that movie resonates deeply with me.
Musician(s) (limit to three): I am a mood/music guy; I listen to so many genres and typically use music to shift my mindset to what serves me in the moment. If I had to pick one, it would be U2.
Destination: Hawaii. I think most people that know me will agree that I have a tough time “turning off”. I am grateful that I have been able to travel all over this country and to many countries across the globe, but Hawaii is the only place that I have ever been where I have truly been able to relax.
4. What do you like to do outside of work? This occupation requires pretty long hours which does not leave a lot of time for “outside of work”. That said, time with my wife and two boys (10 and 7) is a “non-negotiable”. Several years ago, my best friend from childhood turned me on to triathlons; so, when I am not working or with my family, you’ll likely find me running, biking, or swimming (or “geeking” out over the training metrics). Strategically, I try to include my family in these activities so I can limit the 4:00 AM and 10:00 pm workouts!
5. What kind of work does your company do in 340B and what makes it stand out? Alinea offers a full suite of 340B (or 340B related) services such as implementation, audit, optimization, interim management, and large-scale data analytics. I believe our success can be attributed to our approach. We strive to become a business partner, as opposed to a “vendor.” As such, we tend to build deep relationships with the folks that we work with and try to serve entities that are looking for more than a commodity service or “cookie-cutter” delivery. Our team is excellent at evaluating a customer need and applying a bespoke, principled approach to solving or serving the particular need. Equally important to note, we have been extremely selective in building our team; I could not be prouder of the professionalism, depth and breadth of expertise that our team demonstrates day in and day out.
6. Why did you choose to work in the 340B space? On paper, it probably appears that my educational background was deliberate with the goal of having an occupation related to the 340B program. The truth is, there was no “design” that automatically led me to 340B. I was given the gift of a career path that exposed me to many aspects of the “healthcare economy.” My early consulting work in clinical cost reduction and non-provider-based acquisition and integration allowed me to recognize patterns and strategies that served me well as the 340B program grew, became more complex, and faced greater regulatory scrutiny. I feel grateful to be able to able to utilize my skills to become a trusted advisor to clients that need help navigating all of this complexity.
7. What do you feel is your most significant contribution to the 340B world or to a 340B customer/client? Using a quote from my “favorite” movie above, “When you pull on that jersey, you represent yourself and your teammates. And the name on the front is a hell of a lot more important than the one on the back!”. That’s my long way of saying that I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about personal successes or specific “wins” with clients. What is most significant to me is that I have the privilege of working with the best people in the business and the most incredible clients I could have ever imagined. If I have to take (partial) credit for anything, it would be the company culture that we have created that allows us to provide value to our clients every day. That culture also dictates that we are students as much as we are teachers; we are not infallible and need to learn every day so that we can grow as professionals and continue to provide value each and every day.
8. What advice do you have for a young professional who has recently launched a career in the 340B space? Be curious. Understand the history of 340B, including the events that preceded it, the context and healthcare environment at the time and how it has changed over time. Do not become myopic in your thinking about 340B; if you are serving covered entities, do not just look at things from their point of view. Understand the players and motivations. You can only solve problems if you recognize the downstream impacts of the levers you pull today.