Analytics Program Manager, Mercy
Data to Decisions
Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2017 by Truven, an IBM Watson Health company, serves millions annually. Mercy includes 44 acute care and specialty hospitals, more than 700 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
Mercy Technology Services provides and manages technology solutions for Mercy, the nation’s first health care provider accredited by Epic to offer a full suite of EHR solutions to other hospitals, including Epic in the cloud, implementation and optimization. MTS’s award-winning data analytics integrate care delivery, manage costs and support a model of care that keeps patients healthier and out of the hospital.
- Like all health care providers, Mercy aims to cut costs while improving care for patients. Yet with the high cost of pharmaceuticals and a national opioid epidemic causing rising rates of drug diversion in clinical settings, Mercy’s pharmacy service line was up against some obstacles. To better manage costs associated with pharmacy, ensure safe and effective use of pharmaceuticals in patient care and respond to the national problem of drug diversion, Mercy Pharmacy needed access to actionable information. There is a large amount of data available to health care providers from electronic health records, financial/HR systems and drug dispensing systems, yet converting this data into actionable information has been a universal challenge – until now. Today, Mercy has a comprehensive analytics platform that provides answers to Mercy Pharmacy’s most pressing questions. Such as:
- When do pharmacists perform clinical interventions and for what reasons?
- What do our labor costs look like?
- How is workload managed?
- What does pharmacy utilization patterns look like?
- How can we detect and prevent drug diversion?
- How can we better manage our inventory?
Mercy has built a data-driven pharmacy management solution and is now leveraging data analytics to improve patient care, lower care costs and deter unsafe use of drugs. These are a suite of dashboard that are connected and provide a one stop shop of obtaining pharmacy related metrics. Key areas included:
- Drug Expense – a single view of drug costs
- Pharmacy Clinical Intervention - quantity and impact from clinical interventions
- Labor Stewardship - not just managing hours but also managing what we pay for those hours
- Weighted Workload - combines distributive and clinical functions into a single metric
- Utilization - medication utilization by DRG/Primary Diagnosis
- Drug Diversion Prevention - detect diversion through analytics
- Inventory Management - reduce inventory through better medication management
A pharmacy dashboard was designed to provide a single view of drug costs. This enterprise visibility of drug spend gives Mercy insight into the total picture while also providing the ability to dive deeper in high impact areas, which has led to improved financial performance. Mercy pharmacist interventions have improved quality and safety, while also managing drug cost. Labor stewardship for Mercy is not just about managing hours but also managing what we pay for those hours - total orders, hours, types of pay and the relationships between them - to help managers determine areas for improvement. A weighted workload measure was established to combine distributive and clinical functions into a single metric. Medication utilization by DRG/Primary Diagnosis, Retail Pharmacy capture and utilization of preferred regimens in our outpatient oncology infusion area allowing us to identify trends and develop action plans. Mercy has built an analytic solution to detect diversion through analytics. The broad deployment of decentralized medication cabinets introduces several inventory challenges: waste from expired medications, excess inventory that negatively impacts cash flow metrics, stock outs and associated labor. Use of analytics allowed Mercy to reduce inventory by over 5% while improving stock outs.
The rising cost of pharmaceuticals continues to be a huge issue in health care today. Historically, drug cost management has been a focus within the pharmacy departments of our hospitals. In reality, managing drug expenditures across the enterprise is of vital importance and has improved financial performance. For the last 8+ years, Mercy has been focused on expanding our clinical pharmacy services. We now have a new use of analytics to track and improve the clinical and financial impact of intervention. Since labor accounts for more than half of operational costs for any healthcare organization, it is critical to have a robust labor management approach to help managers determine areas for improvement. Historically, productivity and workload measurement in pharmacy has focused around distributive functions which is now a single metric. Putting detailed utilization data in the hands of our leaders allows Mercy to identify trends and develop action plans. Mercy now uses data and analytics to detect diversion earlier, and reduce inventory by over 5% while improving stock outs.
Mercy uses SAP for data management and analytics. The solution platform includes SAP Business Objects, SAP Hana, SAP Predictive Factory,Epic’s (Electronic Medical Record) reporting interface and automated drug dispensing data (Omnicell). By extending the data-driven approach to pharmacy operations, Mercy was able to provide easy-to-consume insights to managers, pharmacists and support staff.
Mercy has built a solution to detect diversion through analytics. The approach looks at transaction patterns for controlled medications out of the drug cabinets. Because there are many ways and methods drug diversion can happen, multiple views of the information is needed to be effective. Our solution includes the following:
- A Drug Diversion Prevention dashboard – This dashboard provides a high-level statistical analysis of drug cabinet dispensing patterns shown in multiple ways to highlight potential areas of diversion for deeper investigation
- Dispense Detail – We also provide reports and explorer spaces linked from the dashboard with the details of drug dispensing
- Dispense to Administration – A third layer provides additional reporting to identify diversion techniques that may not be picked up by the overall statistic, which provides evidence to support interventions for suspected drug diversion
The benefits of utilizing analytics to improve patient care and controlled substances compliance include:
- Reduced medication inventory
- Improved drug costs management
- Combined dispensing & clinical workload metrics
- Minimized risk associated with potential drug diversion
- Drug diversion early intervention presents the opportunity to facilitate rehabilitation
- Improved patient safety by reducing infectious outbreaks, such a Hepatitis C
- Compliance with regulatory requirements