Real-time interaction with patient data to enable robust pharmacy-patient coherence
Over 12.5 million people misused prescription opioids in 2015. Pharmacists have a great responsibility to track and manage the use of controlled substances and other drugs of interest not only for the betterment of the industry but for the good of humanity. Non-adherence also remains a huge burden of the healthcare system. Half of all patients with chronic diseases don’t take their medications as prescribed.
Unfortunately, solutions to these challenges have remained elusive due to the disjointedness of patient prescription data. For pharmacists, data coordination remains a major industry challenge, as does the incongruence among various states’ prescription drug monitoring programs. It remains to be seen if, when, and how a national database of drug use is implemented across the U.S. But it’s time for pharmacists to consider both the deep responsibility for and operational benefits of transmitting patient dispensing data to a contributory database. After all, we can wait for the government to pass legislation based on their perspective, or each of us in the industry can take on the challenge to improve patient care and our positions within the healthcare system.
To improve patient engagement, pharmacists require meaningful and actionable data, insights and analytics. To get the full picture of who’s taking what and to what degree of adherence, pharmacists need to coordinate care through information sharing via a patient platform concept. Using the same technology infrastructure that exists for prescriber compliance and leveraging the same technology platform benefiting the insurance and banking industries today, patient transaction data would be transmitted to a protected system—with patient engagement as the ultimate goal.
From the standpoint of monitoring controlled substances, a pharmacist would be able to receive more advanced opioid scoring and alerts, including morphine equivalency. If a patient filled a prescription a few days before, at a pharmacy a few blocks away, the pharmacist would know it. That could result in the pharmacist having a meaningful engagement with patients to help them with their situation.
Regarding patient adherence to other types of medications, the system would provide adherence score models to let pharmacists know if a particular patient is in need of further education or materials about the regimen to help produce better outcomes. Again, the pharmacist is able to take an active role using actionable information to educate the patient.
Immunization opportunities would also be flagged via immunization registry access. A pharmacist could note, for example, if the patient in front of him was a candidate for the shingles vaccine, and even perform the immunization right in the pharmacy for an additional revenue stream.
Additionally, universal patient identification would provide another layer of security for prescribing, offering patient and demographic data to confirm the identity of each customer. Supporting the use of a universal patient identifier, this platform would easily access other systems within healthcare, such as EHRs, lab systems, and hospital systems, as needed.
Operational benefits of amassing this data would be significant. For example, a pharmacy patient platform would enable basic functionality for states’ Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) compliance. Looking up controlled substance data for the state is often a clunky, time-intensive process. This system would query that information automatically for state reporting, creating a log for future access needs, such as requests from state regulatory authorities, and freeing up valuable staff resources for more time with customers.
The future of pharmacy is just a step away. Existing infrastructure is able to yield real-time interaction with the shared patient data to deliver solutions for a more streamlined, effective delivery of services. Informed providers and engaged patients result in better care and better outcomes: the possibilities are endless.
Brian Eidex is the current director of pharmacy at LexisNexis Risk Solutions Health Care, who holds 20 years of hands-on leadership experience in product management, sales and software development. His responsibilities with the company include generating new revenue from new and existing clients through client consultation and driving product management. LexisNexis prides itself on being able to use the power of data and advanced analytics to help customers make timelier decisions about hidden risks and opportunities by providing insights to people, the industry and society.
There is a critical need to allow patients to provide feedback regarding their adherence to medication therapy and believe it or not, there is already an open platform that is available. It's a question of whether Pharma, as well as the healthcare industry, is ready to accept the fact that without patient feedback, there's no way one can measure any quality measures or patient compliance.