Building a Successful Hospital Pharmacy Analysis Program

Joe Lassiter, PharmD, MS, president of The Robertson Group, LLC, based in Portland, Ore., Kicked off the presentation by emphasizing the need for pharmaceutical analyzes. “In 2019, [the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists] launched the Practice Advancement Initiative, or PAI, 2030 in the continuity of [its] Models of practice initiative to guide and ensure that practitioners and leaders [‘meet the demands of future practice and patient care delivery models’]”, explained Lassiter.

Technology and data science are among the 5 areas of these recommendations, with several suggestions that offer applications of pharmaceutical analysis in practice and discuss the need for a computer literate workforce and analysis, according to Lassiter. However, despite the importance of well-developed pharmaceutical testing programs, starting the process can be daunting, especially for services with limited resources.

To start

During the webinar roundtable, pharmacy executives emphasized the importance of getting started, no matter where you are in the process. “[Three years ago] we were really specific in how we performed our analyzes… we could barely access our data, ”said Chad Hatfield, PharmD, MHA, BCPS, director of pharmacy, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, Calif. “[We] went from the days of cavemen to a rocket that’s now trying to send someone to Mars. “

According to Hatfield, UC Davis’s analytics program grew out of a partnership with the IT team’s infrastructure outside of pharmacy. The program was built on the backbone of the healthcare system using the existing commercial data visualization tool, Tableau. Leveraging existing third-party solutions like this can be a beneficial strategy at the start.

“I recommend that you pay close attention to where your organization invests its money in regards to these apps and align yourself accordingly,” Lassiter said. He added that pharmacies can use a mixed approach of the following options to help kickstart their pharmaceutical analyzes:

  • Third party solutions
  • Supplier partnerships
  • Regional collaboration
  • Internal staff with specialized skills

Jeffrey Chalmers, PharmD, senior director of pharmaceutical informatics and technology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, said his pharmacy department turned to a pharmaceutical analysis program after implementing a platform -More modern electronic medical records form. “Over the years, the demands [for data] has become more complex, ”he said. His organization’s specialty pharmacy implementation also fueled the need for a more robust program when he realized the need for data from multiple sources, in order to “be able to manipulate that data in different ways.” .

Getting the program started is a challenge, but securing additional resources to develop the program can be another obstacle. Developing dedicated staff, whether internal experts or recruited resources, can help move the process forward.

Develop your program

All webinar panelists agreed that the necessary stakeholder partnerships were essential to support the growth of their pharmaceutical analytics programs and teams. “We have heavily engaged our business intelligence institute,” Chalmers said. “They have a lot of programmers [and] data scientists in their team. [We] started by meeting with these groups to understand what kinds of skills we would need.

Hatfield said internal discussions with financial stakeholders, such as the CFO and the IT team, were crucial in communicating the needs of the program. Chalmers recommended highlighting the opportunities for cost savings with the use of drugs to gain adherence.

“We were able to leverage the data to increase efficiency and use drugs more appropriately and show cost savings,” he said. “We continued to use this to gain more momentum and ultimately get approval for additional resources.” Chalmers explained how, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the analysis team built a drug inventory dashboard that allows near real-time monitoring of inventory levels of hard-to-acquire drugs. Identifying early opportunities to present successful projects to leadership teams in organizations has helped build support for the growth of the program, Chalmers explained.

Demonstrate the value

Proposing and justifying a pharmaceutical analysis program to the C-suite team may require demonstrating value and answering ROI questions. Chalmers and Hatfield agreed that focusing on limiting revenues and costs is particularly crucial to justify the importance of the program.

Chalmers explained that at the Cleveland Clinic, a lot of time was spent trying to increase the catch rates of doctors prescribing at the organization’s outpatient pharmacies. “We have 26 pharmacies in Northeast Ohio, but only capture about 11% of prescriptions prescribed by physicians at the Cleveland Clinic,” he said. Chalmers added that by performing baseline analysis, it was determined that every 1% increase in catch rate resulted in a net profit of about $ 1 million per year.

“Well, it catches the attention of a lot of people,” he said. Next, a dashboard was created to display capture rates by clinic, institute, and specialty, which allowed the team to identify areas with high and low performance.

Getting that initial trust from the leadership team and then being able to report the data is critical, Hatfield says. “When I told you I could save $ 10 million on inpatient drug expenses, then I came back and we made $ 12 [million] last year, and we did it because we had these [individuals] in place, it was really more revealing for us to help us keep moving forward with our program, ”he said.

Building relationships for success

One of the key questions in proposing a pharmaceutical analysis program is to determine the organizational structure. The programs can be based in pharmacy, computer science or shared between the 2 departments. “All of our IT programming, including our reporting and analysis teams, reports to me and I report to the director of pharmacy, but not everyone has that structure,” Chalmers said.

However, he stressed that the most important aspect is not who you report to but the relationship between the responsible parties and the pharmacy department. For example, its reporting and analysis teams participate in weekly pharmacy operations meetings and meet regularly with the clinical team and residents. “I don’t think it matters that they’re pharmacy or IT, as long as that dynamic exists,” Chalmers said.

Lassiter agreed that these relationships are essential because the exact structure of the program will be unique to each organization. “The organizational nuances are too specific to be able to have just one model,” he said. He noted that successful programs might have an IT manager with a dual reporting role in pharmacy and IT or a pharmacist serving on a business analysis team. Whatever the hierarchical structure, what matters most is the link with the pharmacy, he said.

The future of pharmaceutical analysis

As pharmacy teams develop their analytics, Lassiter noted that having a strong program doesn’t necessarily mean “death by dash.” To prioritize efficiency and reduce information overload, Lassiter recommended making sure everyone in the organization is focused by asking specific questions such as, “What are the issues we’re trying to tackle?” to resolve ? What are we going to watch? How do we measure it and how do we visualize it? Chalmers agreed, noting that dashboards won’t go away anytime soon; it’s about moving them forward to function more efficiently so that they can perform multiple functions.

On the future of data, Hatfield and Chalmers both highlighted the move towards predictive analytics. Hatfield added that some of these tools exist now, but is ultimately moving towards using them on a larger scale to add a predictive element to their reports.

Chalmers cited his team’s inventory experience amid the COVID-19 pandemic as an example of the benefits of predictive analytics. “Inventory, in general, is something that I think lends itself well to a type of predictive tool, because we can see trends over time, things that change from season to season,” a- he declared. As data and analytics reporting evolves, pharmacy teams will be able to better predict and prepare for what to expect, which will ultimately translate into cost savings and improved performance. improved patient care.


  1. Kvancz D, Lassiter J, Romero G, Chalmers J, Hatfield C. Analytics – the key to high performing pharmacy programs. Becton Dickinson webinar. June 16, 2021. Accessed June 16, 2021.

Lillian L. Pena

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