News Column

Patent Issued for Method for Storing and Reporting Pharmacy Data

June 17, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- According to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews journalists, a patent by the inventor Kalies, Ralph F. (Picket, WI), filed on October 8, 2003, was published online on June 3, 2014.

The assignee for this patent, patent number 8744868, is Omnicare, Inc. (Covington, KY).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Many business organizations today operate from multiple locations. Indeed, some companies have sites worldwide. Getting accurate information in a timely manner to the right people in such an organization can be a difficult, if not a nearly impossible, task. Manually prepared and mailed reports are untimely, require substantial time and resources, and may be of limited use in situations where large amounts of data are continually accumulated and analyzed. Further, access to up-to-date information can be critical in the decision-making process where success, failure, and profitability may all be tied to the timing of the decision.

"In addition, various personnel within an organization have differing information needs. For example, healthcare personnel may need to review the medical aspects of pharmaceutical transactions whereas a business manager may only need to review the financial aspects of the transactions. This creates a need for customized reports having formatting to suit the particular needs of each user. Further, some information is sensitive from a business or patient privacy perspective and must be secured, with access being limited to predetermined personnel.

"A critical characteristic of data is 'freshness.' In situations where large quantities of data are continually generated, it is important that the latest information be available to support an analysis or decision by management. Relying upon only a limited quantity of data, or data collected for only a limited period of time, may present a false or misleading view of a changing or trending metric.

"Most managed care organizations (MCOs) offer a pharmacy benefit to their members as part of a healthcare package. The pharmacy benefit is administered by the MCO, or in many cases, by a prescription benefits manager (PBM) that has contracted with the MCO to manage its pharmacy benefit program. PBMs offer a variety of services, such as: establishing pharmacy networks (also known as publicly-held corporate pharmacies, or 'PCPs'), claims processing, report generation, generic drug substitution, formulary development and management, academic detailing, maintenance drug programs, mail-order pharmacies, negotiating pharmaceutical manufacturer rebates, drug utilization evaluation ('DUE'), and disease management and outcomes assessment.

"Pharmacies within a Managed Care Organization ('MCO') are an example of information-driven organizations that require near 'real-time' access to data in order to operate most effectively. MCOs work to minimize costs through a variety of means, including volume purchases, quality control, and negotiated healthcare fees. As such, there is a high level of interest in electronically acquiring and utilizing as much historical and ongoing data as possible regarding drug use and benefit, comparative costs of alternate therapies, and patient demographics. This information may be collected, organized and stored in a data storage medium, often referred to as a 'data warehouse.' A data warehouse is an electronic database wherein large quantities of related data from many operational systems are merged into a single database, to provide an integrated information view based on logical queries of the data. A properly maintained data warehouse is a valuable tool that can provide information for use in a wide variety of therapeutic, statistical and economic analyses to aid the MCO medical and business staffs in making well-informed healthcare and business related decisions. The data warehouse can also provide feedback regarding the impact of prior decisions and protocols, which may facilitate improvements in patient outcomes and operational efficiency, and thus reduce the cost of medical care.

"Methods of transferring electronic data, such as dial-in modems, have a number of limitations. For example, a data repository utilizing modems typically requires many telephone lines to support the input and output needs of multiple data sources and data users. Economic considerations demand that a limited number of lines be made available, creating a 'bottleneck' for data flow in and out of the repository. In addition, the data transmission rate is often limited by modem and/or telephone line capability, increasing the amount of time required for data transfer. The internet's worldwide accessibility and capability of rapidly transferring data to and from a large number of locations overcome many of the limitations of dial-in modems, making it the medium of choice for multi-site operations. However, the internet's open and accessible architecture makes it a significant security risk. It is not uncommon for sensitive data transmitted via the internet to be accessed by unauthorized personnel. This can result in tampering of data or the dissemination of sensitive or competitive information.

"Thus, there is a need for a method to efficiently accumulate pharmacy data, verify its validity, store it, and make it available in a useful format on a secured basis to authorized personnel. There is also a need to prevent unauthorized users from tampering with or viewing the data."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "The present invention overcomes the aforementioned limitations of present methods for gathering and reporting pharmacy data by providing a repository for receiving pharmacy data, the data being electronically transmitted to the repository directly by pharmacies that generate the data. Specifically, data from individual pharmacies within an MCO or pharmacy benefits management organization are prepared and formatted in accordance with predetermined protocols and standards. The data are timely transmitted to a data repository comprising a data warehouse, via an electronic communications network. Upon receipt at the data repository, the data first must pass through an access security screen. If the data are faulty, such as being in an improper format, it is rejected and a notification is sent to the submitter of the data. If the data are determined to be valid, it is added to the data warehouse database by a data server. Authorized personnel within the MCO or pharmacy benefits management organization may then issue requests to the data repository for reports based on current and/or historical data. Such requests may be made at any time via the electronic communications network.

"To generate reports the requestor first sends a request to the data repository for access. The data repository may include access security measures requiring that the user provide credentials such as a user name and/or password in order to obtain the requested report. Once access to the data repository is granted, the requestor is able to obtain various types of information residing within the data warehouse by using logical queries and/or selecting among predetermined report formats. The amount and types of data available to the requestor may be limited by the requestor's predetermined security level clearance and need to know, in order to protect business-sensitive information and patient privacy. The data may be presented to the requestor in a variety of predetermined report formats, as established by the type of data and the function of the requester."

For more information, see this patent: Kalies, Ralph F.. Method for Storing and Reporting Pharmacy Data. U.S. Patent Number 8744868, filed October 8, 2003, and published online on June 3, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8744868.PN.&OS=PN/8744868RS=PN/8744868

Keywords for this news article include: Omnicare Inc, Information Technology, Information and Data Aggregation.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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