Although there are a number of data gaps in Canada’s specialty pharmacy space, there’s also an untapped opportunity to leverage technology in order to change the delivery of health care, according to Jane Farnham and Jeff Wandzura of BioScript Solutions Ltd.

As Farnham, strategic health solutions leader at BioScript Solutions, told the recent Pharmacy Solutions in Drug Plan Management Forum, there’s a good case for the role of specialty technology platforms in solving many of the problems facing the industry.

“In order for any of us to make evidence-based decisions, we need to better utilize the data that currently exists and/or we need to find ways to gather and collect new data points,” she said.

However, there are currently a number of data-related challenges that exist in the specialty pharmacy space, said Wandzura, the company’s vice-president of innovation.

“First, it’s limited in scope. The majority of information in the industry is centred on financial and transactional information,” he told the conference.

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“Secondly, the reliability of this data from a variety of data sets creates complications. The nomenclature and capturing of information can be inconsistent, and this limits both the speed and analysis of this data. And lastly, having full visibility of the patient journey requires both the breadth and depth to be built on. So we need to connect the dots between multiple databases, and this is a very difficult task.”

On the other hand, Wandzura noted, a technology-enabled care model could give all stakeholders information on adherence data, underlying disease factors and other clinical data that would drive future decisions.

At the same time, he said, the information has to be customized, rather than offering a generic outreach to patients. It also has to be consistent across the country and empower, rather than replace, health-care professionals.

“It’s not the individual elements of what we’re doing today that need to change but it’s about the provision of case management in a manner that has much more depth, it’s more measurable and it provides a better value story to payers,” said Farnham.

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One of the best ways to provide more holistic case management is through mobile technology, according to Farnham and Wandzura, as it allows for a more patient-centred care model. Real-time information allows the profession to be more proactive, while platforms let patients customize their communication with the health-care team.

Ultimately, technology is allowing for the collection of data that is normally unattainable, said Wandzura, noting the information may help drive decisions and enable those on the front lines of care to see performance metrics.

“Connecting the dots on multiple data sets can provide a longitudinal view of the patient journey. This opens the door to new reimbursement models from a risk-sharing and real-world evidence standpoint.”

Read more from the Pharmacy Solutions in Drug Plan Management Forum

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