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January 07, 2021

How Advances in Cloud Computing Can Impact Big Data for Pharmacy

Joy Somogyi
Senior Director, Product Marketing, Omnicell

With exponential growth in development of novel treatments, the scope of a health system’s formulary, and the associated data, continues to expand year over year. Coupled with inventory management challenges including $800 million lost due to expired medications and the $454 million impact of clinical drug diversion, pharmacy needs to gain better understanding of how cloud computing and big data can improve the supply chain.

In the past, a medication’s journey from manufacturer to the bedside generates millions of transaction data points that would be impossible to track with manual processes. But advances in cloud computing and its adoption make it possible and powerful for the pharmacy data to be integrated into the overall health system, care continuum, and patient journey. Cloud is also empowering pharmacists to leverage predictive analytics and benchmarking to accurately optimize medication inventory management through quality, trusted data.

One of the major benefits of cloud technology is the ability to consume vast amounts of data feeding from a variety of sources. That said, normalization of that data is imperative, as inconsistency can lead to semantic dissonance. For example, in the acute care setting, most medication identification is driven by coding that originated in the electronic medical record (EMR), which is unique to a particular instance of that EMR.  When a health system uses a different code to represent a specific medication, data veracity becomes a big challenge for pharmacy.

To unlock the vast potential of big data in pharmacy, one needs applications to make the data useful, specifically to normalize, combine, or aggregate medication data across health systems. If each connected system does not share the same identifier, it creates confusion, leading to delays and inaccurate data. Without complete and accurate data, one cannot make informed decisions about where to move medication to be used before it expires or make an objective case about potential drug diversion issue.

By adopting cloud-based technology, pharmacists now have access to more data from many different sources, opening up a world of possibilities to improve care and streamline medication management processes.

Learn more about how Omnicell cloud solutions are helping hospitals maximize pharmacy success.


The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author(s). These views are always subject to change, revision, and rethinking at any time and may not be held in perpetuity.

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