Blog: Small Data Is the Next Big Thing

Over the past decade, the term “big data” has represented radical growth and evolution. Sophisticated tools and resources have launched us into the digital age, with trillions of gigabytes of information available at the world’s fingertips. Organizations are able to collect, track, and organize dozens of raw data streams at a time, which has helped to uncover critical patterns and observations on a massive scale.

While big data has changed technology and daily life as we know it, managing mass amounts of data can be overwhelming and cumbersome without a strategic approach and careful analysis. It’s critical to drill down into the finer points of data to take meaningful and actionable next steps.

This is where small data enters the picture.

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Connecting the Dots of the Care Process

Small data coupled with advanced analytics is helping specialty care providers and their partners to make sense of data points, advise on strategies, predict outcomes, and alert clinicians of red flags to intervene.

With small data, the specialty pharmacy industry can examine the minutiae of a patient’s pre-treatment condition, treatment regimen, and condition progress throughout the care journey. Experts can also track and examine the efficacy of operations and relationships with third parties, and how these activities impact outcomes.

These seemingly small details can make all the difference for key players who seek to systematize and standardize the care process to consistently ensure positive outcomes across the entire industry.

Key Small Data Points in Specialty Pharmacy

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to evaluating and improving patient outcomes. The top-performing healthcare organizations have systems in place to monitor several factors on a broad, organization-wide level, as well as on an individual patient level.

Some critical measurements in small data analysis include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Financial assistance needed and provided, which is a measure of the ever increasing patient financial responsibility and how that impacts adherence and persistence.
  • Adverse event reporting to record when reactions occurred, what may have caused them, which risk factors may have contributed, and the outcome of natural progression or clinical interventions to remedy them.
  • Therapy discontinuation surveys to pinpoint which elements of the care process were unsatisfactory, ineffective, or undesirable to the patient. This information is invaluable to the ability to hone and improve future regimens.
  • Patient satisfaction reporting, which helps to bridge the critical gap between patient attitudes toward treatment and how it impacts adherence to their regimen.
  • Average time to fill (ATF) to examine the relationship between fill time and adherence, as well as the efficacy of operations they relate to direct patient care.
  • Proportion of days covered (PDC), a formula that accounts for the number of days “covered” by one or more medications divided by the total period in days. This metric is most useful for complex conditions like HIV which typically require multiple strategies and points of care.

Small Data blog-03The Future of “Real-World” Evidence (Data)

As the specialty pharmacy industry continues to boom, experts are focused on collecting real-world evidence to investigate and reinforce theories and observations of treatment efficacy. It’s time to dig deeper into the patient experience and the nuanced details that lead to specific outcomes, and small data is the key.

Small, real-world evidence (data) seeks to answer more intimate questions, like whether a treatment simply manages symptoms or truly improves the patient’s quality of life. For example, can a patient go into work five days per week instead of four? Can they participate in nurturing their families and communities?

The use of data in the specialty pharmacy industry is moving past quantitative numbers and statistics, like claims data, basic dispensing, and utilization metrics and into the realm of qualitative value as it relates to daily life.

Systematizing and Standardizing Patient Outcomes

The only way to ensure consistent, reliable outcomes is to systematize and standardize the entire care process – from intake to long-term follow-up. While each patient’s care journey will be different, care providers and third party stakeholders should be held accountable for maintaining the same level of care and attention to detail.

TherigySTM delivers pre-configured clinical content with “ready-to-use” assessments that are based on best practice standards and national accreditation guidelines. Specialty pharmacy providers have the ability to customize their data input and output without compromising the integrity of a systematized and standardized care process.

To learn more about leveraging the power of small data for your specialty pharmacy’s performance, contact us for a demo.