The promise and potential of healthcare analytics have been widely discussed and will play a major role in the future of healthcare. What often gets lost in that discussion, however, is how data and analytics are being applied to individual elements of care and administration. That is especially true of pharmacies, which play a central, but often unacknowledged role, in outcomes for both patients and provider organizations.
In order to understand the impact that healthcare analytics are already having on pharmacies, consider the core benefits:
- Better Customer Engagement – Pharmacy is unique in terms of the service model it relies on, and analytics offer a means to carefully track and study customer preferences. The key business priorities of a pharmacy – acquiring customers, building loyalty, appealing to larger markets, encouraging larger and more frequent spends – are all aided by in-depth information draw from across the organization.
- Improved Strategic Planning and Budgeting – The economics of pharmacy are as complex and uncertain as the rest of the healthcare industry. Effective budgeting is essential to operations, and strategic planning is more important than ever as the competitive landscape tightens. Healthcare analytics draw from comprehensive data sets to reveal insights that have a direct impact on decision making.
- Greater Focus on Real-Time Performance – Pharmacies that implement healthcare analytics are able to monitor their performance in real time instead of reviewing reports retroactively. That empowers pharmacies to operate with greater flexibility, identify key opportunities, and avoid unforeseen obstacles.
- Reliable Patient Outcomes – Doing everything possible to ensure that medications are taken exactly as prescribed and not abused whether intentionally or accidentally is an ongoing effort. Relying on data reveals the success or failure of medication adherence efforts within a pharmacy and suggest areas for improvement. As the volume of data grows and the attendant applications advance, pharmacy data will contribute to a much larger data ecosystem that informs every aspect of patient care.
- Added Efficiency and Productivity – A focus on data has the potential to improve every process and workflow within a pharmacy. That is especially true when the analytics tools deliver insights with the minimum amount of input possible. Analytics initiatives generally and especially in healthcare often suffer when the tools used are too complex or too time-consuming. When that is not the case, however, analytics is an asset that administrators can draw on to track and refine any process that is producing data.
Healthcare analytics is transforming pharmacies right now, but the full impact has yet to be felt. Digitizing all health information is a major priority for the industry but far from an achievement. That means the amount of data available now will be a fraction of what is available a decade or two from now. Connected devices, wearable health trackers, and digital touch-points will dissect the function of healthcare with a level of precision never available before. That will have a hugely positive impact on patients, providers, payers, and pharmacies too.
Yes, it’s an exciting time to be in healthcare.