2016 ASHP perspective

2016 ASHP perspective: a stronger, more significant focus on data analytics

Mike Sovie, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing at Sentry, recently offered his perspective on the most significant takeaways from the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in Las Vegas at the beginning of this month. The 2016 meeting shattered previous attendance records by attracting more than 20,000 pharmacy professionals from 86 countries, making it the largest gathering of pharmacists in the world focusing heavily on improving patient care.

The meeting has traditionally provided health system pharmacy practitioners with a venue for networking with colleagues, enhancing their clinical skills, and learning about the latest products and technologies. This year, however, Sovie noticed more topics related to leadership, business, analytics, legislation and compliance.

“Past shows had a heavy focus on integration, patient safety and patient care, but this year, people have also started talking more about the future of quality outcomes and measurements,” said Sovie. “There’s a different level of information reaching pharmacists and pharmacy leaders than we have historically seen.”

Sovie attributes a large part of this shift in mindset to the continued migration to value-based care, which is now driving the transformation of hospital pharmacy and supply chain operations. Sovie also pointed out the rise in residency participants at ASHP, which demonstrates the maturation of the industry. Through this rise, and thanks to additional training of pharmacists – and the technology they have access to – Sovie sees an evolution in the profession, with a stronger, more significant focus on data, how to use it and where it can lead an organization in the future.

“At Sentry, we believe that data analytics requires a more robust set of near-real time data than hospitals have available to them today in order to make actionable decisions. With that type of data and analytics, pharmacy leaders can demonstrate the ability to reduce total cost of care, improve outcomes, and improve quality,” explained Sovie. “One organization we work with, a private, not-for-profit, 547 licensed bed, academic medical center in the northeast, captured $235,000 in additional net revenue in less than 30 days, with our DataNext solution’s automated revenue integrity analytics. Another, a large hospital system and healthcare provider in the south, identified more than $1 million in combined drug cost savings and revenue improvement opportunities in less than 90 days.

During the meeting, Sovie and his team shared these and other results from some of their early adopters with a select group of current customers and prospects at a VIP event. In one case, Sovie noted, within just the first 30 days after implementation, a not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system on the west coast – comprised of acute-care hospitals, specialty hospitals, affiliated medical groups and a health plan – used DataNext to automate manual analytics processes, freeing up over 1,450 FTE hours annually.

The event also highlighted the results of a community-based hospital with more than 40 health care facilities throughout the western part of the United States. This group identified more than 14,000 data errors, at a total associated dollar value of $23 million, by using Sentry Data Systems’ analytics to review its internal drug distribution transactions.

For those who aren’t yet up to date on the data analytics curve, Sovie stressed the importance of beginning to look at an organization’s priorities, both in terms of what its executives are focused on and how the pharmacy department can impact it.

“Hospital executives have traditionally looked to pharmacy leaders to lower cost, but now are beginning to realize we can also drive positive impacts on hospital quality, outcomes, and revenue, which is why we have increasingly garnered a bigger seat at the table. Sentry’s proprietary patient data intelligence platform has armed pharmacy leaders with near-real time analytics to identify opportunities and contribute to the bottom line while improving care,” said Sovie, who pointed to an example of a non-profit healthcare system on the west coast, comprised of four hospitals and 19 outpatient facilities, that identified an opportunity to reduce costs associated with a specific cancer therapy by 37% through lower drug costs and better alignment of care settings, in just its first week of using DataNext.

“I was pleasantly surprised at hospitals’ response to the launch of our new pharmacy and supply chain analytics solutions in that a lot of explanation wasn’t needed,” explained Sovie. “People quickly grasped that our patient data intelligence platform was unique and something they needed to do. It matched perfectly with strategies their executive teams were already focused on and struggling with. They just didn’t have the internal resources or the vendor partners that could integrate all the diverse data needed to find these insights.”

Sovie summarized his conference wrap-up with a story. “I had a friend come up to me who had just participated in an ad board,” Sovie explained. “He said, ‘What Sentry is doing is right on. The discussion at the ad board was about how to get all the necessary real-world data and the lack of a vendor who could do it, and that is exactly what Sentry is doing! It’s just that no one knows you’re in this analytics space.’ We’re working to change that.”