Writing in Agenda NI, Head of Data Analytics Solutions Conor Dumigan outlines how real-time analytics can optimise pharmacy staff and resources within the clinical environment.
If you don’t measure, you can’t improve. And in clinical pharmacy, a wealth of data is produced on every patient in every hospital.
New developments in technology mean that the process of measuring and implementing change is much more achievable and affordable.
When the Health Secretary Matt Hancock arrived in post last July, he spoke of the need to explore “technology and data innovation” as a priority area to benefit patients and practitioners.
He went on to acknowledge that budgets have been under increasing pressure since 2010. While the Chancellor’s last budget provided increased funding for health, it was noted that cost pressures are increasing at a greater rate.
In terms of clinical pharmacy budgets, the Medicines Optimisation Quality Framework cited the annual expenditure in Northern Ireland on medicinal interventions as totalling more than £550 million – of which around £175 million is dispensed within the hospital.
Can data innovation optimise resource allocation, drive performance and realise quality improvements?
When it comes to measuring at ward level, the process of recording patient data has traditionally been a manual operation. This absorbs a lot of time which pharmacists and pharmacy technicians would otherwise prefer to spend dealing directly with patients.
In this scenario, how do we maintain visibility of tasks, patient safety, robust reporting and analytics whilst also making the most effective use of staff time? How do we bridge the gap?
The Strategic Business Research Initiative (SBRI) – a process designed to introduce private sector-led innovation to public service delivery – presented an opportunity to bring data innovation into the clinical pharmacy environment at Altnagelvin Hospital.
Co-creating the project together, we found ways to support clinical pharmacy in the ward, as well as ways to help service managers for the hospital and the Trust.
The result was ‘Precision for Pharmacy’, a data-driven teamplay task management system for hospital pharmacy. For the first time, clinical staff were able to review performance in real-time and so increase the capacity of the pharmacy service, improve patient experience of care, help reduce the potential for errors and encourage quality improvements.
Results from the pilot saw significant rises in Medicines Reconciliation on admission completed and an increase in team capacity of 22 per cent with cost savings for the hospital, by the delivery of targeted clinical pharmacy service by the effective and enhanced use of data.
In addition, staff experienced a range of additional benefits around improvements in team spirit, mentorship, greater empowerment for staff, visibility of task ownership, shared clinical language, and improved confidence among staff at all levels.
A responsible and intelligent approach to data analysis is transforming the shape of healthcare provision. We have seen this at first hand and are actively working on a range of projects from the ward level, through to visualisations and predictive analytics on population health to inform policymaking.
In an era where the health service must make every penny go that little bit further, ‘Precision for Pharmacy’ provides an innovative new approach for improved visibility of tasks, patient safety, automated reporting and analytics, staff optimisation – and importantly, operational cost savings.
To find out more, contact Conor on c.dumigan@analyticsengines or 028 9066 9022.