• Meghann Chilcott

New 'Links' in the Data Chain

Updated: Feb 11

For the vast majority of pharmacy leaders, there is a lot to be said about optimizing traffic patterns, monitoring trends in drug spending and other benchmarks when it comes to comparing organizations. In truth, perhaps the boldest and brightest insight comes not from determining how to stand out from others, but rather how to stand with them -- joined together through a common approach to data integration.

That concept clicked with me.

In terms of analyzing costs alone, Hillary Blackburn, PharmD, director of pharmaceutical services for Dispensary of Hope, suggested there are many analytic tools available to monitor drug spend on the basis of data source, purchase data and volume adjustment, to name just a few trends that should be “tracked continuously.”

But how does that help identify and manage strategies for optimizing outcomes? And how can we, as health tech leaders, work to build a chain of data that holds strong and benefits customers in the long run?

Patient Data

Mark Eastham, senior vice president of McKesson RxO, explains that “data is the cornerstone of treating patients.” In his mind, data “now comes from many different providers in many different areas of the healthcare system. The challenge, however, is that there is so much of it out there. Health systems are using disparate systems, and so they’re trying to make sure they can communicate with each other.”

I’d submit the same thing holds true for independents facing the same kind of pressures.

Eastham also spoke about patients, in general, wanting more healthcare options available closer to them. Therefore, it stands to reason that the business of pharmacy is uniquely positioned as a next-door neighbor to the delivery of healthcare services before, during and after a hospital stay. In turn, attending pharmacists capture additional information on patients and are in a more advantageous position for follow-up on medication adherence, among other considerations.