Hospitals must take holistic approach to cutting drug costs

Hospitals seeking to cut costs in relation to their drug expenditures must take a holistic approach regarding how they integrate into the overall delivery of care, according to Pharmacy Times.

"For utilization improvements to succeed, the results of a pharmacy's data analysis and actions must be disseminated widely into the diverse hospital culture," the article concluded. "Physicians believe data. Concrete evidence helps secure their engagement in making changes to improve patient care."

Hospitals are under increasing financial pressure regarding drugs, as their prices continue to increase dramatically, and spot shortages often occur. Although this has been partly linked to the business practices of some drug firms, and hospitals have resorted to price transparency to modulate usage, some other institutions have wound up making questionable choices regarding drug deployment.

Among the data that hospitals must focus on, according to the publication:

  • Drug costs must be tied to diagnosis-related groups or DRGs, not just individual patients, allowing for a deeper expense analysis. And organizations must also compare them to readmission rates, lengths of stay and adverse events that can impact the overall cost of care. 

  • Evidence-based utilization data is extremely important, because that is the best way to impact drug use patterns in a significant enough manner to cut their costs. An example is the use of IV-based acetaminophen. One hospital saw a $1.8 million spike in the use of the analgesic, primarily because of an increase in utilization and rising acquisition costs. Using such data analysis helped the hospital save $850,000 in expenditures in a single year.

To learn more:
- read the Pharmacy Times article