Develop your hospital pharmacy analysis program

A strong hospital pharmacy analytics program can improve drug use and advance patient care. In a webinar hosted by Becton Dickinson on June 16, expert pharmacy executives discussed the essential elements of high-performing pharmaceutical analysis programs and how hospital pharmacy departments can develop them to make operational, clinical and decision-making decisions. financial.

Joe Lassiter, MS, PharmD, President of The Robertson Group (TRG), LLC, kicked off the presentation by emphasizing the need for pharmaceutical analysis.

“In 2019, [the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists] launched the Advancing Practice Initiative, or PAI, 2030 as an extension of their practice model initiative to guide and ensure that practitioners and leaders [‘meet the demands of future practice and patient care delivery models’]Lassiter explained. Technology and data science are among the 5 areas of these recommendations, with several suggestions that offer applications of pharmaceutical analysis in practice and speak of the need for a workforce. work mastering both computer science 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 panel discussion, pharmacy executives stressed 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, University of California (UC) Davis Medical Center. “[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 start-up strategy.

“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.

According to Lassiter, 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

“Usually there’s some sort of initiative that drives analytics, a certain revenue cycle, a regulatory, clinical, and operational need that ultimately drives home the need to develop that analytics program,” Lassiter explained.

Jeffrey Chalmers, PharmD, systems director of pharmaceutical informatics and technology at the Cleveland Clinic, said their pharmacy department turned to a pharmaceutical analytics program after implementing a records platform more modern electronic medical devices. “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 they realized the need for data from multiple sources to “be able to manipulate this data in different ways.”

Of course, getting the program started is a challenge, but securing additional resources to develop the program can be another hurdle. 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, data scientists on their team. [We] started by meeting with these groups to understand what kinds of skills we would need.

Hatfield explained that internal discussions with financial stakeholders, such as the CFO and the IT team, were crucial in communicating the needs of the program. Chalmer recommended highlighting the opportunities for cost savings with using the drugs to gain more uptake.

“We were able to harness the data to increase efficiency and use drugs more appropriately and show cost savings,” he said. “We have continued to use it to gain traction and ultimately gain approval for additional resources.” Chalmers explained how, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the analysis team built a drug inventory dashboard that enables near real-time monitoring of inventory levels of hard-to-acquire drugs. The dashboard compared this data with the usage and calculations for the days available. It’s important to identify opportunities early on to present successful projects to the organization’s leadership teams, Chalmers explained.

Gilbert Romero, RPh, Six SigmaMBB, Senior Consultant, Visante, Inc., who spoke from a community teaching hospital perspective, recommended starting with topics important to the hospital. For example, he explained that because pain management was an issue his hospital wanted to improve, his department started showing success in this area.

“We brought out a pain management team from the pharmacy that grew… How we measured it, how quickly [we measured it], and who we present this data to has become very important, ”he said.

Demonstrate the value

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

For example, Chalmers explained that at the Cleveland Clinic, they spent a lot of time trying to increase the catch rates of doctors prescribing at their outpatient pharmacies.

“We have 26 pharmacies in Northeast Ohio, but only seize about 11% of prescriptions prescribed by physicians at the Cleveland Clinic,” he said. Chalmers added that by performing baseline analysis, they determined that every 1% increase in the catch rate translates into a net profit of about $ 1 million per year.

“Well, it catches the attention of a lot of people,” he said. They then created a dashboard 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 having the ability to report the data is critical, says Hatfield.

“When I told you I could save $ 10 million on inpatient drug costs, then I came back and we made $ 12 [million] last year, and we did it because we had these people in place, it was really more telling for us to help us keep moving forward with our program, ”he said. declared.

Building relationships for success

One of the key issues in proposing a pharmaceutical analysis program is determining the organizational structure, as the programs can be based in pharmacy, IT or jointly shared between the 2 departments.

“All of our IT programming, including our reporting and analytics 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 whether they’re pharmacy or IT, as long as that dynamic exists,” he said.

Lassiter agreed that these relationships are essential overall, as 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. “I think the important thing is that you exploit what is at stake in the organization, therefore the analytical work that is done; the data warehouses that have been set up; the applications that are purchased, as well as the pharmacy is at the table with regard to the use of drugs. He noted that successful programs might have an IT manager with a dual reporting role in pharmacy and IT or a pharmacist 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 on the same page by asking questions such as, “What are the problems we are trying to solve? What are we going to watch? How do we measure it? And how do we visualize this? “

Chalmers agreed, noting that dashboards aren’t going 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 are now in existence, 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 the future, ultimately resulting in cost savings and improved patient care. .


  1. Kvancz D, Lassiter J, Romero G, Chalmers J, Hatfield C. Analytics – The Key to High Performing Pharmacy Programs. Presented June 16, 2021; in line.

Lillian L. Pena