Christine Griffin began working with Express Scripts Canada since its inception in 1996. What started out as a simple pharmacy benefit manager has since evolved into a health benefit management company with a virtual or online pharmacy to positively impact patient health. In looking ahead, Griffin says the organization will continue to evolve to create personalized health solutions. 

“We are investing in tools that bring data and insights to life to allow early interventions to maintain patient health, and also provide assistance and clinical solutions to help people on a personal level,” said Griffin. “We’re moving towards increasingly holistic and personalized solutions that link wellness and technology. I can’t wait for the next 10 years!”

Christine Griffin, Head of Sales, Account Management and Client Services, Express Scripts Canada was selected as a Vanguard Game Changer for the August/September 2021 issue. 

What is your role at your organization today?

As Head of Sales, Account Management and Client Services, I oversee our group health benefits and pharmacy sales, account management, and client relations nationally for our private and public sector clients. I’m also responsible for the strategic planning around client renewals and retention strategies, satisfaction and the development of new business opportunities.

What was your most challenging moment?

One of my most challenging moments happened about two years ago. I was forced into the realization that I needed to focus on myself by taking a step back to work on my mental and personal wellbeing. Being highly motivated to push my limits, learn new things, and keep a high standard of achievement, I perceived that hard work meant working long hours, checking in during my vacation time and prioritizing work over myself and often, my family. I hit a wall and came to the realization that I would need to ask for help and prioritize myself above all else. This was the most difficult yet rewarding moment in my life.

I’ve since taken the time to evaluate my core values and realign my priorities, leading to a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. I continue to pursue new challenges and opportunities; however, I am more selective about where I spend most of my time and how it aligns with my values.

What was your aha moment or epiphany that you think will resonate most with our reader, tell us that story.

Throughout my career, I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with great leaders and mentors. I was able to learn something from every connection and open the door to a number of new opportunities. Being driven by growth and learning, I wanted to do it all and in doing so, I would start a number of projects with limited ability to see them through to completion.  

My greatest ‘aha’ moment was that I could do it all, by prioritizing, focusing, and ‘leaning in’.

By selecting my top goals and focusing my efforts on a limited number of them at the same time, I was able to accomplish so much more. My career has expanded, I am a focused and present wife, mom, and daughter. I learned to ski, am a mentor, foster parent for puppies in need, have started painting and gardening, all while working on opportunities to become a volunteer board member.

What is the one thing that has you most fired up today?

I get fired up when I awake to new challenges and the unknown. In my role, every day is unique from the next and I never know what’s to come and the opportunities that will arise and continue to push ourselves and our clients to new heights.

What is the best advice you received?

In my journey towards mental and personal wellbeing, I have been working with a life coach who encouraged me to seek to understand with genuine curiosity and believe unconditionally. I found that this applies to all facets of my life, and it has helped me create deeper connections and foster a mind that is open to new possibilities.

What is a habit that contributes to your success?

Part of my routine that contributes to my success is waking up an hour before I have to be online at work. I use this time to reflect on the previous day and set my intentions for the day to come. This means no devices or technology for at least one hour before I start my workday. This allows me to get grounded and prepare, whether it’s getting out for a walk or time to think before the whirlwind of emails and meetings begins.

What people or organizations do you believe best embody the innovation mindset? 

I’m proud of our parent company, Cigna, which is a renowned global health service company that strives to improve the health, well-being, and peace of mind of those they serve by making health care simple, affordable, and predictable. They embody the innovation mindset by transforming health care and innovating across the healthcare delivery system by improving the quality, affordability, and patient experience.

How is your organization changing the game within your industry sector?

As a leading health benefits manager, Express Scripts Canada has been recognized as part of the most innovative pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) in the world. As industry leaders, innovation is at the forefront of everything we do.

We are the only pharmacy benefits manager in Canada with the ability to tap into the resources of a global company that positively impacts the lives of more than 170 million people worldwide and tailor them to the Canadian market.

We are known for our best-in-class management of pharmacy, dental and extended health claims, and industry-leading data analysis, which we turn into actionable insights for our clients in both the public and private sectors. Our clients include Canada’s leading insurers, third-party administrators and government. We work with these clients to develop industry-leading solutions to deliver superior healthcare in a cost-controlled environment.

What are some of the biggest impediments to innovation in your industry sector?

The demands today are much different than they were a year ago. The pandemic has forced us to rethink how we do business and how we partner with our clients. We’ve seen a bigger push for digital health and wellness tools than ever before and that’s exciting.

Overall, the scale, industry, and technology standards are all unique in the Canadian marketplace and this poses its own challenges. To overcome them, successful innovation means choosing the right partners. We strive to contribute to the growth and evolution of the healthcare landscape, so we focus on offering our clients new ways to reach their benefit plan members by partnering with us to innovate and differentiate themselves in the marketplace. 

How has innovation become engrained in your organization’s culture and how is it being optimized?

Our president, Dr. Dorian Lo, is a visionary. His enthusiasm for innovation drives us all to achieve greatness for the organization and ourselves. He sets a good example and encourages new ideas and measured risk-taking. His leadership gives us the licence to go all-out to achieve success.

What technologies, business models, and trends will drive the biggest changes in your industry over the next two years?

For Express Scripts Canada, transitioning to an Agile Mindset (or Agile Management) of how to adapt to one’s environment is core to our organizational success. This approach has been critical in our ability to seamlessly serve our clients despite the uncertainties of the global pandemic and as a result, we’ve been able to serve our clients and fulfill our mission without disruption even in this unprecedented time.

This uncertainty has led to opportunity. We’ve experienced a new demand for the enablement of digital self-serve tools for our clients that both enhance the member experience and their reach. The trend for digital health and wellness tools will only continue to expand not only out of increased member convenience but provide improved patient health benefits such as increased adherence and safety while delivering cost savings to our clients.

What is your parting piece of advice?

Be curious and follow your instincts. Don’t be afraid to ask why and challenge the status quo.