Insights - Article

Pharmacy 2.0 and Formulary Compliance

Hospital policies and procedures have long moved beyond the thick paper binders of yesteryear, but electronic files stored on a hospital network storage system aren’t much of an improvement.

Static files are still difficult to utilize and time-consuming to search through, and while most staff pharmacists have memorized the most common drug use policies at their facility, they might still spend significant time looking up less common medications, and new policies can be easily overlooked. This becomes even more problematic for new or temporary staff.

What’s more, these documents must be manually updated, which can be a time-consuming and inefficient process that introduces the potential for error.

Hospital formularies are typically housed in simple electronic files that are difficult to utilize and maintain.

Searchable Library Simplifies Compliance

Simply replacing paper binders with electronic documents isn’t enough, so why not bring clinical formulary compliance into the digital era?   By using advanced technologies, drug use policies can be transformed into an intuitive, searchable online reference library that increases the efficiency and accuracy of your onsite pharmacists, temporary staff, and even remote pharmacists. In a well-designed system, medication use and hospital policy information is summarized and categorized in a logical and consistent manner, and advanced search technology allows the pharmacists to search by any term or drug name to help pharmacists find relevant information faster.

And when a system makes it easier to revise policies whenever needed, they’re more likely to be kept up to date. Any changes made can also be highlighted, even requiring pharmacists to acknowledge that they’ve reviewed an updated policy.

The Power of a Rules Engine

Where this becomes really powerful is when digitized policies and procedures are used to alert the pharmacist of potential interventions when medication orders may violate a given facility’s formulary or may present a danger to the patient. Our PowerGridRx system does just that using a sophisticated, yet customizable, rules engine, and links directly to relevant policies within the reference library to provide the pharmacist with the information needed at the time the decision is being made.

Our system is designed to deliver these warnings as “soft” alerts that reduce the potential for alert fatigue common to less nuanced systems, and are less likely to be ignored. Our reference library goes further by enabling hyperlinks to be embedded into any policy, order set, or document that is related to the reference library topic. Rules can also be easily and quickly changed, modified, and updated by a member of the hospital pharmacy team as drug use policies change. This functionality goes far beyond static files and ensures that information is current and available exactly when it’s needed.

“Soft” alerts prevent alert fatigue and link directly to the relevant policy.

More and Better Interventions

This powerful combination of features that we have built has resulted in industry-leading provider-accepted intervention rates. One study found that after one week of utilizing our system, accepted interventions increased from 15 to 98.[1] The same study found that three small hospitals saved or avoided an estimated $261K in costs by preventing, identifying and resolving medication order related problems—including issues with formulary compliance.

A study found that after one week, provider-accepted interventions increased from 15 to 98.

Standardizing Across Your System

Digitizing and automating your policies and procedures also presents a new opportunity to standardize across an entire health system for greater efficiencies, reduced risk, and consistency in care delivery, in addition to savings and effectiveness associated with formulary compliance.

In fact, standardizing using evidence-based order sets that reflect best practices have been shown to save organizations millions of dollars. New, cloud-based technology like ours, makes it easier for both on-site and remote staff to maintain full compliance with your formulary, and other policies and procedures, and to keep them up to date.

Standardized order sets can save health systems millions of dollars.

A Modern Formulary & Process for Compliance

Interested in learning more about how your pharmacy can drive formulary compliance while increasing efficiencies and standardization across your system? Contact us today.

[1] Study conducted in 2011 by Philip J. Schneider, MS, FASHP, FASPEN, FFIP, Professor and Associate Dean, University of Arizona College of Pharmacy and ASHP Past President. Based on three (3) client sites.