Posts By: Beth Osborne

What’s the Process for a Multi-Location Pharmacy Data Conversion?

In many cases, a data conversion for pharmacy systems is simple. It’s one location changing their software. However, in the case of chain pharmacy or hospital pharmacy, there can be multiple locations. The need to migrate data can be due to an acquisition or a systemic switch to a new provider. This can be very cumbersome and concerning for pharmacy leaders. However, a multi-location pharmacy data conversion is easy with InfoWerks. See how we make it pain-free.

How Do Multiple Locations Impact a Data Conversion?

The simple answer is that there is more data! How you convert will depend on your specifications. Some questions we would ask include:

  • How much data do you want to keep for each location? For example, most migrations keep two years of current data. 
  • Are any locations closing and need data migrated to a new site? If you are closing a pharmacy, you’ll need to convert that data to another new location and archive the rest.
  • Do you want to archive data? And if so, who will need access? Archiving pharmacy records is a cost-effective way to ensure you met record retention requirements and can quickly obtain the files from a web-based system. 
  • What is your current software and your new software? Once we know this, we can determine if there are outliers or considerations, as each software is unique. Luckily, we’re platform agnostic and have worked with over 150 different ones. 

Does a Multi-Location Pharmacy Data Conversion Take a Long Time?

The specific timespan for your data migration is dependent on many factors. The amount of data is one of the most significant. Also, the cooperation of your current and future vendor will impact the timeline. 

Multi-locations aren’t always longer. The best thing you can do is plan ahead. Choose your data conversion partner early and work out the timeline with them from the start so that your Go-Live meets your needs.

Are There Other Special Requirements for Multi-Locations?

The number of locations matters less than the accuracy and state of the data. If there is a large amount of unstructured data, that can add additional requirements to the project. Our specific process has steps that take into consideration all the things we know to be true about data pharmacy conversions. 

We know all the areas that can cause challenges and proactively prepare for them with our customers. You can learn more about pharmacy data conversions in our whitepaper, The Ultimate Guide to Pharmacy Data Conversions

Trust InfoWerks with Your Conversion Projects

We’ve been migrating pharmacy data for over two decades, and we’ve got you covered. If you’re beginning a conversion project, then connect with our experts today to get started

Pharmacy Business on Thin Margins, Suffers More During Pandemic

pharmacy business

Is it hard to have a successful, independent pharmacy business? The answer is complicated, but pharmacies were already seeing lots of closures. Those thin margins weren’t sustainable in good times. Then the pandemic hit, so what’s the aftermath?

16% of Rural, Independent Pharmacies Closed

According to the Rural Policy Research Institute, 16% or 1,231 independent rural pharmacies closed between 2003 and 2018. These closures created pharmacy deserts, areas in the U.S. where patients have little access to get their medications. That’s one piece of the health inequity ecosystem. Without access, the challenges for population health mount.

Independent Pharmacies Dip Below 20,000

In 2020, the number of independent pharmacies operating in rural and urban areas dipped below 20,000. That’s the first time this has happened. That’s concerning, not just for the possible lack of access for patients, but it’s troubling for pharmacist-owners. Pharmacists typically own independent pharmacies. They are in the dual role of provider and businessperson. Their pharmacies are often a part of the community and are many times the connection for its citizens to health literacy. 

Prescriptions and Pharmacy Purchases Shrank in 2020

Another issue for pharmacies is that there were fewer prescriptions in 2020. Many were hesitant to go to the doctor unless it was an emergency. Further, many lost their jobs and health insurance, so they couldn’t afford their medications. With fewer visits to the pharmacy and less expendable income, pharmacies weren’t generating any additional revenue. 

PBMs Cut into Margins, Too

PBMs (pharmacy benefit managers) align mostly with chain pharmacies. That left independents at a major disadvantage. PBMs control the prescription drug reimbursements for health plans. If your pharmacy is unaffiliated, your margins take additional hits.

COVID-19 Testing and Vaccines Help Revenue Some

Pharmacies have been front and center during the pandemic. They’ve served as test sites and vaccine providers. While they are earning some revenue from this, there was no windfall. Plus, many pharmacies had to deal with costs around logistics. 

However, patients trust their local pharmacy, often more than “big” healthcare. That trust does provide a lifeline to the community around vaccines. That may be one area where they are excelling versus chains or mass inoculation sites.

What’s the Future for the Pharmacy Business?

The consequences of the pandemic will continue to impact all aspects of healthcare. Rural hospitals are struggling, too, and a disjointed healthcare system became more evident during COVID-19. The future is uncertain. Politicians, regulators, and industry stakeholders will be battling it out for some time. 

What doesn’t change is the need for the independent pharmacy. It’s a beacon for the community. Survival will depend on adaptation, using technology, and other opportunities to reduce costs. Some will falter, and that’s a loss for the business owner and those they serve. It’s a stark reminder that healthcare in the U.S. is not equitable. Until we fix that, it will remain an unhealthy ecosystem. 

Healthcare M&A Activity Expected to Rise in 2021: What Does It Mean for Healthcare Data Management Needs?

healthcare M&A

Are M&A (mergers and acquisitions) ready to take off for healthcare? Healthcare M&A has always been part of the ecosystem. A new report from Moody’s expects M&A activity to increase due to several factors. 

This post will break down those factors and what this means for healthcare data management needs.

Why Will M&A Activity Increase?

According to the Moody’s report, there are several factors behind this trend. Let’s dive into those next. 

Hospitals and Health Systems Want to Expand and Diversify

Many not-for-profit systems are seeking to expand geographically and develop new revenue streams beyond low-paying government programs. They may acquire more specialty services to offer more procedures, which could increase patients. 

For-profit hospitals also want more opportunities to make money. They are targeting out-of-hospital services that align with consumer desires for flexible care. 

Small, rural hospitals have been struggling during COVID-19, leading to many closures. To curb losses, they are looking for partnerships and affiliations.

These factors are in line with a report from Kaufman Hall that revealed the total number of hospitals and health systems declining. However, the remaining ones are larger. The report also notes that there were only 72 deals in 2020, a 14% decrease from the 2019 number of 92. 

Payers Add Non-Traditional Services

Payers want to generate more revenue, too. They saw declines in 2020 simply because wellness screenings and elective procedures dwindled during the pandemic. Payers aren’t expected to merge but acquire non-traditional services. 

UnitedHealth group purchased Change Healthcare. Cigna acquired MDLive, and Centene paid $2.2 billion for Magellan Health. 

Healthcare Staffing Mergers Pick Back Up

Last year, these M&As slowed to conserve dollars. With financing available at attractive rates, there will likely be some consolidation. Moody’s lists potential acquisitions for AMN Healthcare, ONEX TSG Intermediate, U.S. Anesthesia Partners, and Radiology Partners.

With More Healthcare M&A: Data Becomes a Key Asset to Migrate, Archive, or Share

When healthcare organizations merge or acquire, there are a million moving parts relating to legal, compliance, and finances. There are also challenges around healthcare data management

Data Conversions

For entities acquiring others, they’ll need to migrate these new divisions into their EHRs and other health information systems (HIS). That requires a healthcare data conversion. It’s a tricky process with many caveats. A migration strategy is a good idea to discern what and how to move data. 

Data Archiving

Acquirers don’t have to convert all the data from older systems. You can choose to archive patient records that are older or inactive. You still have to keep them to comply with record retention regulations. The cost-effective, secure, and easy answer is to move the documents, images, and data to an archive. Select one that’s web-based, so accessibility isn’t an issue. You’ll also be able to decommission legacy systems, which are expensive to maintain and, if no longer supported, leave you open to risk.

Data Sharing

With any healthcare M&A, new systems need to exchange data and communicate with each other. This type of work can be time-consuming stretching thin already overwhelmed internal IT teams. There are options to outsource healthcare data sharing so that interoperability isn’t hindering your operations. 

Don’t Forget About Your Data in M&As

Data can be an afterthought in healthcare M&A. It shouldn’t be! It’s one of your most valuable assets and what ensures processes and ultimately better patient care. If an M&A is on the horizon for your organization, find a healthcare data management partner like InfoWerks. Contact us today to learn more.