What if your pharmacy was sitting on an untapped gold mine? Wouldn’t you grab your tools and immediately start mining for nuggets?
Every pharmacist has a gold mine located inside their pharmacy management system: data. Unfortunately, many pharmacists are unaware of how “rich” data can be. These undiscovered nuggets could be hugely beneficial to your patients and profitable for your business.
Data mining has become a more widespread practice with the progression of the Information Age. Simply put, data mining is “the process of analyzing data from different perspectives and summarizing it into useful information – information that can be used to increase revenue, cut costs, or both” according to UCLA’s Bill Palace. As you and your staff input information for one patient after the other, you’re collecting data that your pharmacy could be using towards becoming more successful.
Nick Thomas, a PioneerRx pharmacy consultant, explains how pharmacists can search through their data and notice trends within their pharmacy management system. “You can do advanced searches for nearly anything, which is what’s really unique about our software: there’s almost unlimited search potential for any information you’re seeking,” he says. “Let’s say you wanted to find all the men over the age of 85 who have asthma and are covered by one specific insurance. You could easily go search for that because we have all these different criteria to search for and pinpoint those exact patients because you can do detailed searches with the data fields available.” Because the search options are virtually unlimited, pharmacists can look through their data for ways to improve their business and better their patients’ lives.
“There are profits to be made in this business, and you can’t sit back and wait for it to happen; you’ve got to make it happen.”
Bob Lomenick, owner and pharmacist of Tyson Drugs, began data mining when he hit a roadblock. “Several years ago, when I was frustrated with my business, I sat down and wondered what was wrong. I knew I had three choices: I could complain about it, I could accept working 12 hours a day and not making any money, or I could change,” says the Mississippi pharmacist. “There are profits to be made in this business, and you can’t sit back and wait for it to happen; you’ve got to make it happen.” Bob has since appointed one of his pharmacy techs as a full-time data analyzer who primarily focuses on looking for trends within the pharmacy’s data, such as smarter ordering and patients who are at risk of hospitalization.
While pharmacists like Bob look for higher profit margins, they may find interesting data by looking at their negative gross profit. The VIP search filter in PioneerRx now pinpoints the top twenty percent of most profitable patients and the ones who generate the most negative gross profit. This new search filter lists patients whose medications and insurance plans may be negatively affecting your business. The VIP search filter is ideal for opportunities like Medicare Part D enrollment: pharmacists can create a list of patients whose insurance plans are too expensive, and pharmacists can aid their patients in finding alternative plans that will save everyone money.
The staff at The Prescription Pad in Monticello, Arkansas, began data mining less than six months ago, and they have already noticed a difference in their patients’ health. Owner and pharmacist Brian Smith describes how he uses the Patient Risk Scores report to target the patients who need the most attention. “Within a minute, I can know my highest-risk patients in PioneerRx. I wanted to target the top two percent, so I set my risk score range to 98-100. At first, I had around five to ten patients in that top two percent. Now, I only have one patient in that range, and she has since been enrolled in med sync and adherence packaging.” Since analyzing his store’s data, Brian has found more patients who need adherence packaging and has seen tremendous improvements. “I never knew what the ‘risk score’ was until I clicked on it. It shows their fill history, adherence, everything. We target those high-risk patients for our packaging system because they’re the ones who affect our star ratings the most.” After a few months of data mining, Brian is hooked and believes he is only “scratching the surface” of using his pharmacy’s data to save lives.
With the power of an innovative data search at your fingertips, you can find anything from the profitability of a medication to your most high-risk patients. Knowing this information is one thing, but putting it to use is where many pharmacists fall short. With so much data to search through, finding one place to start may be difficult. “Any pharmacist can run the negative gross profit report and spend fifteen minutes a day looking at that report and planning what you’re going to do,” Bob recommends. “You just won’t know until you start. If you’re just filling prescriptions, you’re not going to be profitable.” As you’re working to manage your patients’ well being, remember that you are also managing a business. Taking time each day to data mine is the first step in making your pharmacy a staple in the health community and a profitable business.
After all, it’s your data. Shouldn’t your pharmacy software give you access to it?