Pharmacies leverage data to improve patient outcomes

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Pharmacies leverage data to improve patient outcomes

By Richard Monks - 09/20/2017

Employing sophisticated technology and a broad range of customer information is central to community pharmacies' ongoing efforts to play a greater role in managing patients' health, according to industry sources.

"Besides capturing all of their prescription-related data, pharmacies should mine their patients’ point-of-sale data," Innovation VP of global business development Doyle Jensen told Drug Store News.

"Using both categories of data, pharmacies can better analyze their patients’ medication profiles and disease states combined with purchasing trends, and pinpoint potentially useful and discounted over-the-counter products, vitamins, nutraceuticals, durable medical equipment and so on," he said. "The POS system can then provide valuable coupons for discounts on these products during checkout, or pharmacy staff can make recommendations on products they believe could be helpful to patients."

Technology providers stress that offering a more comprehensive approach to patient care is essential for community pharmacies as they continue to seek ways to be part of a broad-based, team-focused patient care solution.

"With the pharmacist being one of the most accessible players on the healthcare team, being able to have a holistic view of the patient is key," LexisNexis - Health Care director of pharmacy Bobbie Riley said. "Being able to gain access within workflow to individual patient’s social determinants of health will help us tailor patient engagement strategies to improve adherence and drive more positive outcomes."

While using technology is helping pharmacies keep patients safe and compliant, it also is raising their profile as critical healthcare providers.

"Because front-end pharmacy operations are already overwhelmed, technology can be a key in minimizing wasted time and human error, and maximizing the pharmacist’s time for patient care," said Frank Maione, chief business officer at PreceptiMed, the creator of the VeriFill and IdentRx systems that help ensure prescription accuracy. "The automations and verifications that technology can provide in labor redeployment through remote applications and by reducing human error should result in long-term return on investment."

The impact technology can have on the bottom line and a pharmacy's standing in the healthcare continuum, Maione and others said, cannot be overstated.

"Not only is it a pharmacist’s passion to provide the best patient care, community pharmacies must be prepared to keep patients compliant and adherent because their five-star ratings depend on it," QS/1 retail interface analyst Crystal Ratliff said. 

Such long-used technologies as automation, IVR and the ability to order refills online and via mobile apps, as well as more recent developments, such as electronic prescribing and telepharmacy, have made pharmacies more efficient and responsive to patients' needs, she noted. As a result, a growing number of patients across the country are relying on their neighborhood pharmacist for a wider range of healthcare services.

As technology gives community pharmacies the ability to be part of a collaborative healthcare team, outcomes are improving, and more patients are taking their medications properly.

"As pharmacists, we must collaborate with our software friends to provide us with the medication risk mitigation tool we need to effect change and eliminate adverse drug events," Tabla Rasa HealthCare CEO Calvin Knowlton said during a speech to the American Society for Automation in Pharmacy in July. "It is time to integrate the science that underlies our medication safety metrics into our pharmacy technology and systems."

Among the more recent tools developed to improve compliance is the recent alliance between LexisNexis Risk Solutions and eRx Network.

According to the companies, the partnership combines LexisNexis data on more than 8.5 million providers with eRx Network's real-time pharmacy network, letting pharmacies perform comprehensive prescription compliance checks in real-time. The solution, they noted, uses the existing pharmacy connectivity of eRx Network and requires little to no integration or maintenance by a pharmacy chain.