A major academic medical center client experienced widespread challenges in practice, regulation, and compliance in the years that preceded the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization’s executive and pharmacy leadership team had goals of transforming into a high-value pharmacy enterprise, however, a lack of dedicated resources for medication management, unorganized data, and a shortage of staff expertise all served as significant roadblocks.
Not least of these roadblocks was the need to reevaluate and reshape its pharmacy informatics, analytics, and automation strategy.
Pairing Technology with Strategy
Prior to the pandemic, the health system had invested a tremendous amount of capital in technology. Solutions such as automated dispensing cabinets, inventory systems, and a slew of other medication-use technology tools were now a part of the operation along with the resident challenges of strategy, prioritization, or ability to implement – all of which tied back to a lack of necessary resources and expertise in these areas.
Seeking a meaningful solution that would make the most sense for its unique organization and for its patients, the health system leadership team contracted Visante to help prioritize the next steps, assemble a well-thought-out action plan, and staff the pharmacy informatics, automation, and analytics teams for maximum impact.
Building Out the Team
Over the course of the next few years, Visante became an integral and supporting part of the team, helping implement an entire suite of medication inventory management and analytics processes and procedures. A new organizational structure began to take shape in the form of a Pharmacy Informatics, Automation & Analytics Team, with Visante playing a guiding role in everything from writing job descriptions and interviewing to hiring and onboarding new and highly capable personnel.
Once the proper people were in place, the team got to work analyzing the backlog of projects and charting a course to ensure the hospital’s technology could be used to its highest benefit. This was no simple task, as the new technologies had to work well in the context of existing operations and clinical staff, including nursing and any other providers, to improve patient care without overextending financial resources. This was largely rooted in identifying and prioritizing which projects had the highest institutional value.
Due to the pandemic, roughly 95% of this work and collaboration was performed remotely, speaking to the clarity of the overarching strategy and to the effectiveness of communication throughout the team at all levels. At completion, six years’ worth of projects were completed in a three-year span, with additional steps taken to ensure the health system could continue growing self-sufficiently into the future.
Then and Now
Before the partnership, there was no single source of truth for hospital workers or leadership to know how much medication existed across the health system. They might know what was ordered by viewing the ordering system, but manual inventory processes and dispensing cabinets were not unified, resulting in an inability to accurately state the total dollar value of the medication inventory.
After project execution, there is now a single unified source for all inventory data, an analytics team that can fill in any gaps in vendor platforms, and the ability to quickly create dashboards with all the right data and evaluate everything moving through the enterprise on an annual basis.
Bring Your PharmIT Vision to Life with Visante
The vision for this outcome came completely from the client, and we are thrilled they enlisted Visante to help them get there. This pharmacy informatics and technology work is still ongoing within the health system as it continues to build across the areas of applications, automation, analytics, and technology.
A key lesson from this project is how essential it is to have a well-informed and communicated strategy when it comes to selecting automation. Health systems must know what to consider when selecting the right tools while ensuring the right team is in place. It’s also important to understand that these strategies do not just apply to the pharmacy department alone. These are medication-use initiatives that affect the entire health system.
Visante is here to provide strategic thinking, bring full focus, and clear the noise so you can be as efficient and effective as possible in launching your optimized PharmIT department. Contact us today to learn more.