A Practical Assessment of Assessment Management Tools

Specialty Pharmacy Times, February 2012, Volume 3, Issue 1

Managing the collection and reporting process for clinical assessments is paramount to ensuring the integrity of data collected, clinical decisions, and reporting requirements.

Managing the collection and reporting process for clinical assessments is paramount to ensuring the integrity of data collected, clinical decisions, and reporting requirements.

A clinical assessment, sometimes referred to as a clinical questionnaire, contains specific questions designed to evaluate and identify focused treatment therapy for patients. Administered to patients prior to starting a treatment regimen, data collected from clinical assessments support baseline metrics used to determine the best course of treatment for patients. Clinical assessments may also be conducted during and after a treatment regimen has begun to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment therapy as well as identify potential changes to current courses of treatment.

Typically conducted by medical professionals during one-on-one interactions with the patients, clinical assessments primarily rely on responses received directly from patients. However, under certain conditions, additional data collection may be required from alternative sources to provide a more detailed and accurate diagnosis and treatment therapy for the patient. Alternative sources of data may include patient history and lab results from provider records as well as plan design and claim history from pharmacies/payers. As a result, managing the collection and reporting process for clinical assessments is paramount to ensuring the integrity of data collected and its ability to support effective clinical decisions as well as internal and external reporting requirements.

As clinical and manufacturer reporting requirements increase for pharmacies, implementing an assessment management tool will assist in streamlining their data collection and reporting responsibilities. Whether you are purchasing or developing one, the following key operational and technological considerations must be in place before you implement your chosen assessment management tool.

  • Drives Process Flow—Supports branch questions as necessary to complete assessment (ie, questions driven by answers to a previous question). Provides updates into the pharmacy management system based on completed assessments.
  • Scheduling Functionality— Triggers assessments based on fill status /calendar dates and other scheduled events.
  • Supports Reporting—The system must be designed to support clinical, plan, and manufacturer level reporting requirements (ie, limit free fields). This is critical, as your assessment data will often be used to support outcomes reporting.
  • Record & Storage Functionality— Ability to record and store data entered into assessment screens prior to, during, and after assessment is completed.
  • Simple Design—Provides search functionality on patients and historical assessments; supports status tracking on open and completed assessments.
  • Create/Modify Functionality— Ability to create new assessments, modify assessments, inactivate questions (while maintaining data integrity), and track assessment change history.
  • Automated Data Pulls— Integrates with internal pharmacy management systems to capture and display standard patient data information (ie, patient demographics, call tracking, and prescription information).
  • Integrates with Dispensing Data—Links dispensing data to completed assessment to ensure proper tracking and compliance of treatment therapy.

Pharmacies that further integrate their assessment management tool with their pharmacy management systems may also benefit from systematic identification of patients requiring a clinical assessment. Utilizing prescription data along with plan design parameters, pharmacies may proactively initiate clinical assessments, determine courses of treatment, and evaluate the effectiveness and potential changes to current treatment therapies.

As a result, pharmacies that utilize their assessment management tool to streamline the patient identification process as well as the collection and reporting process will achieve a complete solution to managing clinical assessments.

About the Author

Jim Maguire is the chief executive officer of BioMed Intelligence, Inc, a firm specializing in health care information technology support solutions. With more than 20 years of experience, Mr. Maguire was formerly the chief information officer of a top pharmacy benefit manager and also led information technology operations at a leading specialty pharmacy. He can be reached at 347-847- 3570; jmaguire@biomed-intelligence.com; www.biomed-intelligence.com.