The client, a major U.S. health care provider, has seven geographic regions with separate pharmacy information management systems (PIMS), and wanted to integrate them all.

Some were based on the same platform, but processes and practices were not consistent. In general, they were outmoded, creating errors within and between the systems. At best, these technical problems caused temporary frustration for employees and patients; at worst, the delays and mistakes cost the company valuable business it should have been able to keep.

Inefficient and incompatible PIMS were limiting the ability of employees to provide higher levels of patient service. More than data quality, the common factor was process consistency. Leaders in the organization recognized the implications. They understood the value of a unified data warehouse, and called on Q Analysts to help plan and execute a complete transformation of the pharmacy data infrastructure.

After a review of existing data management practices, Q Analysts discussed the organization’s immediate and anticipated needs. Company leaders wanted improved data availability and analysis so they could respond to changes in the marketplace, especially in the competitive outpatient pharmacy area. They saw that greater control of business rules and logic in pharmacy data extraction would allow for improved data stewardship and provide better data lineage. Company leaders and Q Analysts experts agreed that a central operational data store (ODS) could help create a single trusted source of integrated data, reduce vendor dependencies, provide prescription level and aggregated data, and allow flexibility to incorporate future data sources, such as:

  • Pharmacy benefits
  • Financials
  • Pharmacy claims
  • Clinical management
  • Products
  • Patient information and eligibility

A centralized data warehouse would support the creation of data marts, which in turn could provide current data for:

  • Financial analytics and reporting
  • Inventory analytics and reporting
  • Risk management analytics and reporting
  • General ledger postings data feeds
  • Downstream data feeds and reporting
  • Claim adjudication analytics and reporting (post conversion)

These capabilities would allow flexibility and scalability to help the organization adapt to changing business needs. New technical and organizational infrastructure would provide a more agile, expedient and more cost effective means for data analysis, extraction, and distribution. Beginning with a review of hardware and software architecture, consultants from Q Analysts offered direction and support for data warehouse design and data mart design. As project development progressed and a new system began to take shape, consultants provided master data management and roadmap guidance. The organization also had to plan for migrating existing data to the new unified system. Q Analysts experts adapted known industry best practices for the organization’s specific needs, and gave advice on data integration and modeling, on ETL data load and optimization, and on data QA methods. Throughout the project, Q Analysts provided oversight for governance and project management processes.

The new operational data store delivers greater consistency for data quality and process efficiency. It allows key user groups to follow established practices in data input and retrieval, and offers a common interface for employees across the organization. Most important, it helps the company provide the highest levels of service quality, helping maintain and increase its presence in the marketplace.

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