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APhA Foundation announces new data aggregation and reporting tool

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — The American Pharmacists Association Foundation and software company IQware Solutions have teamed up to create core components of an IMPACT Healthcare Innovation Hub, a new data aggregation and reporting tool that will integrate clinical and economic data.

The secure web-based platform will include data collection, importing, analytics and reporting capabilities currently used in the foundation’s research projects. Using the hub, healthcare organizations will be able to produce a set of self-service reports using uploaded data that demonstrate the value of pharmacists’ patient care services as an efficient, cost-effective healthcare solution, APhA stated.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to develop new tools to streamline data collection and reporting in a way that produces evidence of the impact pharmacists’ patient care services have on healthcare delivery and ultimately, patient health outcomes,” said Mindy Smith, APhA Foundation executive director.

“Privacy, confidentiality, reliability and security are of paramount importance to our research at the APhA Foundation and to our collaborators,” said Benjamin Bluml, APhA Foundation SVP, research and innovation. “One of the key reasons we selected IQware as our development partner is for the flexibility its secure, patented technology offers in developing an infrastructure that allows us to adapt to a continuously evolving marketplace as we work to expand our research and innovation enterprise to help invent a preferred future.”

Healthcare organizations who use the IMPACT Healthcare Information Hub will be able to collect, analyze, report and aggregate data depending on their needs. The software will allow the option to enter data directly into the system if an electronic medical record system is not in place, convert non-standardized formats into standardized data, or accommodate market standards for health information exchange if a standard EMR system is used.

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The American Association of College of Nursing names new president

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — Eileen Breslin, dean and professor of the School of Nursing at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, has been elected to serve a two-year term as president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Breslin assumed the presidency at AACN’s 2014 Spring Business Meeting held March 24 in Washington, D.C.

“Preparing the next generation of nurses to be thought leaders is critical to ushering in meaningful change at the highest levels of health care and higher education,” Breslin said. “As AACN’s president, I am looking forward to answering this call by working closely with member schools, staff and all stakeholders to shape future AACN initiatives that advance leadership in nursing education, research and practice.”

Breslin began her career in academia at Northern Arizona University, where she served as an assistant professor, tenured professor and chair of the Department of Nursing from 1989 through 1998. She then moved to the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, where she served as dean of the School of Nursing for 10 years and interim dean for the School of Public Health and Health Sciences for three years. In 2008, Breslin joined the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio as dean of the School of Nursing, and she also holds an appointment as adjunct professor in public health at the San Antonio Regional Campus of the University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston.

Breslin, whose personal career interests include women’s health and public health nursing, led a number of major initiatives during her nine years as dean at UMass. She instituted a doctor of nursingpractice degree, a clinical nurse leader program, and a dual Master of Science and Master of Public Health program ― all firsts in Massachusetts.

Breslin’s long-time service on the AACN board serving as  president-elect (2012-2014), treasurer (2005-2009), member-at-large (2001-2005) and member of the Government Affairs Committee (1994-1998). Breslin also represented AACN at the American Nurses Association Congress on Nursing Practice and Economics, as a member of the AACN/Department of Veterans Affairs Liaison Committee, on the task force that issued AACN’s 1999 position statement titled “Violence as a Public Health Problem” and as a state grassroots liaison.

Among her recognitions and awards, Breslin has been recognized as a Distinguished Practitioner in Nursing by the National Academies of Practice in 2000. Her most recent honors include the National President’s Award from the National Association of Hispanic Nurses and the Sigma Theta Tau Image Maker Award. She is a fellow of both the American Academy of Nursing and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, as well as a Distinguished Practitioner in Nursing of the National Academies of Practice.

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Report: Sales of specialty medicines shifting toward hospitals, specialty pharmacies

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. — Sales of specialty medicines are shifting toward hospitals and specialty pharmacies and away from independent physician owned-and-operated clinics, according to a report released Tuesday by HDMA’s non-profit research foundation, The Center for Healthcare Supply Chain Research. 

According to the report, independent clinics commanded 59% of distributor sales in 2012, down from 66% in 2011. Sales to hospitals and specialty pharmacies, on the other hand, increased by 6% (combined) to comprise an average of 26% of specialty distributors’ sales. 

This may be correlated to an increase in public and private payers’ efforts to control costs in this segment, which further influence the types of distribution models selected by specialty manufacturers (limited vs. exclusive) and providers (Buy and Bill vs. External Delivery), the report noted.   

“As this publication demonstrates, distribution of specialty products is dependent on a range of factors,” said Kirk Kaminsky, SVP operations, McKesson Specialty Health. “As this industry continues to thrive, there will be unique opportunities and challenges involved in delivering these complex products.” 

In its fifth edition, Specialty Pharmaceutical Distribution: Facts, Figures and Trends highlights more than 45 performance metrics for specialty pharmaceutical distributors and reviews a variety of topics related to this fast-growing industry, which now outpaces sales in the traditional pharmaceutical market. Areas analyzed include market characteristics, logistics and operations; specialty trading partners, types of distribution models and payer influence on these models; therapeutic trends in oncology; and future opportunities in biosimilars.

Research is based on primary survey data from specialty distributors; this year, the publication focuses solely on surveyed specialty distributors with more than $1 billion in sales. Secondary research also was compiled from previous Center reports, including “Specialty Pharmacy: Implications of Alternative Distribution Models,” and research from other healthcare organizations. This year’s publication is sponsored by CuraScript SD Specialty Distribution; McKesson Specialty Health, a division of McKesson Corporation; and, Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.

According to IMS Health and calculations by the Center for Healthcare Supply Chain Research, specialty distributors manage nearly 40% of the approximately $86 billion U.S. market for specialty medications, delivering complex products that are typically developed for populations with chronic or rare diseases, and, among other factors, require special handling, storage and delivery. As reported by surveyed companies, specialty distributors provide efficiencies to the market by offering a range of services to support their trading partners and customers in this segment, including consulting, reimbursement and inventory management services; patient counseling; and recall and third-party logistics services.

While the types of customers served by specialty distributors also are evolving, so are the therapeutic categories of the products they deliver. Oncology products continue to represent the majority of products delivered, at one-third of distributors’ sales. Meanwhile, inflammatory conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease) also show increased sales, at 21% of distributors’ sales.

Moreover, distributor respondents indicated that oncology, inflammatory conditions and central nervous system disorders (or CNS, such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease) make up the top three therapeutic areas distributors expect to increase in importance in the coming year. CNS (specifically multiple sclerosis) and oncology also are among those products IMS Health predicts to lead the market in the next three years.   

“We have already seen remarkable changes in how manufacturers, distributors, providers and payers collaborate to get these critical medicines to patients,” said Karen Ribler, EVP and COO of the Center for Healthcare Supply Chain Research. “The introduction of new formulations, such as orally administered products and biosimilars, will lead to continued growth and innovation in this sector, with a critical role for specialty distributors to play as delivery models evolve.”

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