Unlocking the Data Gold Mine for Specialty Pharmacies

Specialty Pharmacy TimesApril 2012
Volume 3
Issue 2

Specialty pharmacy needs to raise the bar in data management and be ready for tomorrow as well as deliver superior patient care.

Specialty pharmacy needs to raise the bar in data management and be ready for tomorrow as well as deliver superior patient care.

Specialty pharmaceutical companies have a unique set of opportunities to optimize their businesses within their existing data management systems by providing greater clarity between pharmacists, physicians, and payers, and by streamlining reporting processes. By unlocking the potential of their data through leading-edge software development and integration, specialty pharmacy can emerge as thought leaders in health care data management. As a result of an investment in updated systems, pharmacies can modernize their legacy systems and run more efficiently, while reducing the amount of time and resources needed to satisfy complex reporting requirements.

To realize these benefits, specialty pharmacy needs to adapt new data tools that are designed specifically for them. For too long, specialty pharmacy has made do with systems that are retrofitted or cobbled together from retail pharmacy data management tools. These solutions require extensive and costly integration efforts and often succeed in providing enough information for the pharmacy to get by. Specialty pharmacy data systems that are not updated leave a lot of money on the table, have potential data governance/liability issues (if they rely on manual processes), and may not offer a superior level of patient care.


Newly designed data systems are, in essence, tools that specialty pharmacy can leverage to achieve operational efficiencies. Our industry’s PBMs (pharmacy benefits managers) look at efficiencies as metrics when determining pricing in the marketplace—benefiting those who take on efficiency with the best rates for drugs that the market allows. Data that exist within the systems can also be used by specialty pharmacy’s sales teams to geo-target, optimizing their sales efforts. Finally, specialty pharmacies can save money and resources and time dedicated to the vast reporting requirements through innovative software.

By automating manual reporting, specialty pharmacy can simplify its processes, reduce the number of resources involved and, more importantly, minimize the amount of time from hours to minutes that is needed to address its monthly reporting requirements. Automation leads to fewer errors and aids data governance.

There are ever-evolving rules issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Insurance Portability Accountability ACT (HIPPA), and other government bodies that impact specialty pharmacy. Because the needle is always moving, specialty pharmacies need their data systems to be flexible so it is easier to remain compliant. Modernized systems are adaptable and can be manipulated through software. For example, the addition of system security enhancements, roles and privileges administration, and updated applications to support 256-bit SSL encryption can all go a long way to ensure HIPPA compliance and ease meeting reporting demands.


Visionaries in specialty pharmacy such as Burman’s Specialty Pharmacy in Brookhaven, Pennsylvania, are investing in data management solutions that are maximizing business outcomes, delivering superior patient-centric solutions, and streamlining reporting processes. Burman’s sought the assistance of an expert data management solution provider to develop software that could act as a one-stop shop and enable the pharmacy to offer better patient care. The company identified the need for this software to elevate its patient management capabilities, including lab results, insurance requirements, and ongoing patient monitoring. The level of clinical management for its hepatitis C patients requires software that provides greater insight and visibility between the pharmacy operating system, patient, and provider.

They developed a web-based system designed to help navigate the complex treatment of hepatitis C patients. The system allows pharmacists, physicians, and other stakeholders in the care process to more effectively exchange critical lab information in a secure, patient-compliant manner. It also provides access to data through a customized reporting system that allows users to analyze aggregated trends across patient groups and evaluate treatment options.

“Existing data management tools were not providing us with the capabilities beyond gap analysis to improve our patient clinical care. We took it upon ourselves to build a customized solution to offer better care while streamlining our monthly reporting processes,” said John Regester, chief operating officer, Burman’s Specialty Pharmacy.


Whether it’s upgrading an existing system or building a tailor-made model suitable for your business, it is incumbent upon specialty pharmacy to raise the bar in data management. With trends such as the rise in personalized medicine, e-prescriptions, and mobile readiness, specialty pharmacy needs to continually move forward and embrace proven technologies. The data systems in specialty pharmacy need to be ready for tomorrow, ready for government regulators, and ready to deliver superior patient care. All of this can be achieved through updated leading-edge data management systems.


About the Author

Lawrence James is president and CEO, Connexus Technology. Connexus Technology is an innovator of data management tools for the health care industry. Headquartered in Philadelphia, the company focuses on designing and implementing interactive dynamic webbased information management tools for large organizations. For more information, visit www.ConnexusTechnology.com.

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