Posts By: Beth Osborne

The Pandemic and Prescription Drug Spending

prescription drug spending

ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists) released a new report regarding the pandemic’s influence over prescription drug spending. While spend did grow at a moderate rate, analysts attribute the growth to increased usage. The shifts and changes the healthcare system experienced over the last year caused these shifts. They will continue to do so as the pandemic continues and the delivery of care evolves. 

A Look at the Numbers

Prescription drug spending rose 4.9% in 2020, reaching $553.3 billion. Of that, 2.9% was due to greater utilization. New drug spending added in 1.8%, while price changes accounted for a mere .3%. 

That’s the overall number, but there are other trend insights by type uncovered in the report, such as:

  • Nonfederal hospitals spent 4.6% less: There was a spike in March 2020, then 19 weeks of decreases before a rebound. 
  • Home health increased its spend by 13%: Home health services grew tremendously during the pandemic. 

Pandemic Effects Will Linger in 2021

The lead author of the report, Eric Tichy, PharmD, MBA, believes that effects from COVID-19 will persist. This will impact drug spending this year and next. Tichy urges hospital and health-system pharmacists to prepare for further consequences, such as the commercial availability of new high-cost drugs and changes in site of care. 

With vaccines prevalent, hospital pharmacies can also expect to see a revitalization of acute care services. Preventive care, screenings, and elective procedures took a nosedive in 2020. With utilization expected to rise, hospital pharmacies will see a rebound in drug expenditures. 

New Drug Approvals Will Also Impact Market

There are other factors influencing cost beyond the pandemic. The report also suggests that biosimilars will be a big driver of prescription spending for 2021 and beyond. The industry expects approvals for new drugs in this category. 

There is also a healthy pipeline of drugs for cancer treatment, rare diseases, and other specialties. The FDA should be providing approvals for these this year. Specialty drugs have been fueling increased expenditures for several years, compared to other classifications. 

Read the Complete Report

You can read the complete report, National Trends in Prescription Drug Expenditures and Projections for 2021. The report’s predictions include an expectation that overall spend will increase 4-6%. For clinics and hospitals, they forecast 7-9% and 3-5%, respectively. 

Do You Have a Legacy Healthcare Data Strategy?

legacy healthcare data strategy

Legacy data is a pain point for many organizations. For healthcare organizations, it can be further complicated by regulations and compliance. That’s why you need a legacy healthcare data strategy. In this post, we’ll break down how to build one to ensure that data is accessible and secure.

Legacy Systems Are No Longer Serving Your Interests

Keeping a legacy system running to enable continued access to data is a losing proposition. When you adopt a new application, it’s always better to leave the previous one altogether. However, many healthcare organizations keep legacy systems afloat, and that’s costly and risky.

You’ll be paying high monthly fees for it to serve as a storage solution. It also may only be accessible on-site if it’s an on-premises system. The most concerning aspect is that businesses stop supporting legacy systems, meaning they are at higher risk of breach by cyber-criminals. 

The Best Legacy Healthcare Data Strategy Involves Archiving

If you don’t want data to move to your new system, and you can’t purge it due to medical record retention guidelines, do you have other options? Yes, the simple alternative is archiving. You can migrate these records to a web-based healthcare data archiving platform. In doing so, you keep it secure and accessible.

First, such a system is HIPAA and HITRUST compliant. Second, developers employ encryption when the data is at rest and in transit. Finally, it includes multiple levels of security within the cloud to ensure its privacy and confidentiality. 

You can also access such an application from anywhere with an internet connection with login credentials. The most elite solutions include searching and filtering options, as well. As a result, you can find what you need quickly and even run audit-ready reports. 

Building Your Strategy: Questions to Consider

In building your legacy healthcare data strategy, you’ll need to consider the following:

  • How many legacy systems do you have? 
  • What are the record retention laws in your state?
  • What type of data is it—documents, text, images, etc.?
  • Who needs access to the archived data?

With the answers to these questions, you can start developing your strategy. It should include:

  • What data you’ll migrate and where it lives 
  • Who will have access and at what permission levels
  • How long you’ll keep archived legacy data

By documenting your strategy and procedures, you can choose the best archiving solution and say goodbye to those legacy systems for good. 

Not All Archiving Platforms Are the Same

It’s easy to think that all data archiving platforms are the same. There are various offerings available, but the first thing you should do is find one that’s healthcare-centric. That will cover the compliance and usability aspects. Next, you’ll want to ensure it can archive the data formats that you require. You’ll also want to be sure that you can have multiple users with access. 

Finally, make sure it has the features you need to streamline workflows. For example, if you need to provide healthcare records for a specific patient, make sure you can search by patient and then create a report for export. 

Get Control of Legacy Data by Archiving

Archiving data is the best avenue to rid yourself of legacy systems. We’re experts in healthcare data archiving and have securely moved billions of records for industry stakeholders. We invite you to experience our archiving solution, ViewMasterSee how it works and request your demo today.

What Is Healthcare Data Management?

what is healthcare data management

The question, what is healthcare data management, doesn’t have a simple answer. It’s complex and includes many different nuances and challenges. The entire healthcare ecosystem is part of the answer. Simply put, it’s how a healthcare organization manages its data.

That management of data includes keeping it private and observing compliance mandates. It also deals with the data’s accessibility, portability, and interoperability. The amount of healthcare data is increasing every minute. Its value to the delivery of care, reducing costs, and improving public health is immense. However, the true potential of healthcare data remains untapped. 

In this post, we’ll look at the ways that we address, what is healthcare data management. 

Data Management Includes Moving It

Data movement in healthcare includes many subsets. There are data conversions and data sharing. In a healthcare data conversion, you move patient data from one software platform to another. It sounds easy, but it’s rather complex. 

To migrate data successfully, you must:

  • Follow compliance guidelines.
  • Ensure field matching is accurate.
  • Include a robust QA process.
  • Move structured and unstructured data.

Those are the pillars of successful healthcare data migrations. Because there is no industry standard for EHRs or pharmacy management solutions, you can’t just copy and paste or use a simple program. It’s a process that requires expertise, testing, and quality controls to deliver the most accurate outcome.

Data sharing is also critical in data moving. Internal and external systems need to exchange data in a secure and consistent process. Data sharing is a data management pain point for many, but it’s necessary to support decision-making and have a holistic view of public health. 

Another aspect of sharing is patient access through portals. Most EHRs have this feature and share data automatically, but there may be additional information that patients should be able to retrieve. For example, lab reports are sometimes in other systems, requiring the portal to acquire that data from its host. 

Data Management Requires Storing It

Storing data is another segment of healthcare data management. First, you should have secure cloud backups of all your applications and data. This function is imperative for strong cybersecurity practices.

The other element of storing data is archiving it. Healthcare data archiving enables you to move data from active or legacy programs into a centralized repository. It’s then accessible, secure, and searchable. In addition, you’ll be able to meet medical record retention guidelines by archiving. 

Data Management Involves Analyzing It

Healthcare data has little value without analysis. By leveraging technology platforms, you can derive critical insights from your data. You can begin to answer micro and macro questions based on the patterns and trends in your data.

Data analytics will likely be the most critical aspect of healthcare data management. It has the potential to improve care delivery and be predictive for both public outcomes and individual patients. Further, it could reduce costs, helps organizations maximize revenue, and more business-focused needs.

What Is Healthcare Data Management? It’s How You Use It 

Healthcare data management means many things. What it means to your organization is how you use it. Your data must be accessible, portable, and interoperable to have healthy data operations. When you don’t have those functions, it derails your capabilities. We’re experts in all areas and are a healthcare data partner of choice for many organizations. Explore our healthcare data management solutions today.