Health spending as % of GDP
Healthcare spending in September 2016 was 18.2% of the GDP, or about $3.42T.1
Spending on hospital care
Spending on hospital care grew rapidly from 3.7% in October 2015 to 6.6% in October 2016, representing 32% of total health spending.2
Prescription drug spending
Prescription drug spending grew 3.5% between October 2015 and October 2016.3
The uninsured rate continues to fall, reaching a new low at 10.9% in Q3 2016.4
New antimicrobial stewardship standard
On January 1, 2017, the Joint Commission’s new Antimicrobial Stewardship Standard for hospitals, critical access hospitals, nursing care centers and other healthcare providers took effect.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 20–50% of all antibiotics prescribed in U.S. acute care hospitals are unnecessary or inappropriate.5 Not only can this practice of over-prescription cause adverse drug reactions, but it is also increasing antibiotic resistance, making certain bacterial infections more difficult or impossible to treat. In fact,federal data shows that at least 2 million Americans are infected with drug-resistant bacteria each year and 23,000 die as a result.6
On January 1, 2017, the Joint Commission’s new Antimicrobial Stewardship Standard for hospitals, critical access hospitals, nursing care centers and other healthcare providers took effect. Elements of this standard include: infection prevention plans; educating staff and patients on the appropriate use of antibiotics; establishing multidisciplinary teams and protocols; collecting, tracking and reporting data on the program; and taking action on improvement opportunities.7
Is telepharmacy right for your hospital?
With fewer workplace interruptions, a telepharmacy model can result in substantial cost savings for hospital pharmacies.
A major challenge facing hospitals and health systems is providing patients with 24/7 pharmacy coverage. But with a telepharmacy model in place, home-based pharmacists working in a HIPAA-secure environment can quickly verify and approve orders obtained through electronic medical records. And with fewer workplace interruptions, this approach can result in substantial cost savings for hospital pharmacies by eliminating the number of salaried, full-time equivalent pharmacists and technicians needed in-house to cover night, weekend and holiday shifts.8 Telepharmacists also make it convenient for patients, particularly those in rural areas, the elderly, and those with mobility issues to access and utilize pharmacy services.
For the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven, the introduction of telepharmacy services helped the organization reduce the time to turn over a single drug dose from one-and-a-half hours to 45 minutes. Plus, it saw a 1.7% reduction in errors.9 For patients, this translates to a shorter wait time and improved order accuracy. According to a Drug Topics article, the key to implementing a successful telepharmacy system is ensuring that remote staff have a clear understanding of expectations, which should be carefully outlined in an organization’s policies and procedures manual.10
3 ways to manage drug shortages
Even though the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported a general decrease in drug shortages since 2011, there were nearly 300 ongoing drug shortages in 2015.
Even though the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported a general decrease in drug shortages since 2011, there were nearly 300 ongoing drug shortages in 2015.11 For supply chain professionals, drug shortages are a significant challenge requiring managers to determine when and if backup inventory of certain products is needed or if they should purchase more expensive alternatives. In addition to leveraging analytical tools, supply chain managers may want to consider these three best practices:
- Find the right balance of backup inventory for critical, high-demand products
- Communicate with physicians and hospital executives about possible shortages as early as possible
- Have regular meetings with pharmacists to determine strategies for managing shortages. According to one survey, only 56.6% of hospitals are taking advantage of this opportunity.12
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1 Insights from monthly national health spending data through October 2016, Altarum Institute, December 2016 2 Ibid 3 Ibid 4 U.S. uninsured rate at 10.9% in third quarter, Gallup, October 7, 2016 5 Core elements of hospital antibiotic stewardship programs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 6 Hospitals focus on antibiotic overuse as CMS prepares new mandate, Modern Healthcare, December 20, 2014 7 Joint Commission Perspectives, The Joint Commission, July 2016, Volume 36, Issue 7 8 Telepharmacy offers hospitals dramatic cost savings, reliable results, Drug Topics, June 10, 2015 9 Telepharmacy system to save Yale-New Haven Hospital time, money, Yale News, September 24, 2015 10 Telepharmacy offers hospitals dramatic cost savings, reliable results, Drug Topics, June 10, 2015 11 GAO on drug shortages: FDA’s prioritization of generic injectable ANDAs is helping, Regulatory Affairs Professional Society, July 13, 2016 12 Drug Shortages 2014: A Premier Healthcare Alliance Update, Premier Inc., February 2014
*The information provided here is for reference only and does not constitute legal advice. We make no representations with regard to the content’s comprehensiveness. You are solely responsible for investigating and complying with all applicable laws that govern the operation of your business. The results of parties herein depend on a variety of factors that are unique to their business. There is no guarantee that your results will be similar. Each party’s results will depend on the factors of its business. Their success cannot be used as an indication of future success with these programs.
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