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LogicStream Health is a provider of a software application for managing the risk of drug shortages
Steven Loeb speaks with Patrick Yoder, co-founder and CEO of LogicStream Health, provider of a software application for managing the risk of drug shortages.
Our goal is to understand tech breakthroughs radically changing healthcare: the way we screen, diagnose and treat conditions and measure outcomes. And whether tech is helping or hurting our well-being physically and mentally.
Highlights from the interview:
- Yoder spent a lot of time, not only in the healthcare delivery side, but also in corporate America; he worked for a company that developed clinical decision support products and he did a lot of integrations with health information systems, like electronic health records and those products. Through that work, he figured out that as the electronic health records become a lot more mainstream, the next big thing was going to be data and data analytics. LogicStream really came out of that work earlier in his career.
- One of the big things that have driven drug shortages is demand: COVID, and certain cyclic diseases, can drive a lot of demand in the supply chain, meaning that drugs are actually needed to treat more patients. That can create a shortage in the supply chain because you can't manufacture instantly. The other one is economics: what the company found doing this work over many years is that there's a combination of low cost and criticality that are really important. So, if you get an injectable drug that is less than $2 or $3 a dose, it becomes almost impossible to actually make money on that and what happens is fewer companies manufacture it, and then you have a more fragile supply chain because you may have one or two manufacturers of a critical drug.
- Drugs in general go up pretty consistently every year, 2% to 8% depending on which segment you look at and which data you review. Yoder doesn’t think COVID in and of itself actually drove higher pharmaceutical costs but it certainly did drive demand so many hospitals thought they were going to be full, or over full, and therefore actually stocked up on in particular the drugs that they thought they were going to need to use to take care of COVID patients.
- Healthcare providers are trained to deal with certain problems in certain ways: they use certain drugs, they learn to know what the doses of those drugs are. Nurses learn how to actually administer those drugs, and so on and so forth. Pharmacists learn other drugs to watch out for, from drug interactions and those types of things. If they have to change the way they're actually delivering care, meaning using a different drug to solve a similar problem or the same problem, that whole chain of people have to know how to use that drug and so they have to create the training, update the electronic systems, make sure that the nurses have the knowledge that they need to administer it and watch for side effects. That creates a lot of additional work inside the health system.
- LogicStream is a data analytics company and all of its solutions are powered by advanced analytics or machine learning. It has an algorithm that gives early warning, so it'll actually tell a health system that there could be a drug shortage coming, and it will give them some indication about how likely it thinks that is going to occur, and then actually allow them to very quickly understand the data so they can come up with a good plan to manage the inventory that they have and the shipments that are still on the way. It tracks all the items that they need to change, but also tracks and streamlines communication for the nursing and physician staff as well.
- The company actually takes into account the inventory that the health system or hospital has, calculating and showing the days on hand, and then we actually use that as part of our indicators when we're bringing shortages to a customer's attention. It doesn’t bother them with things that even though the product is likely going to be short, that they don't use, for example, it just won't even surface that form because we know they don't use it.
- The other thing that the system does is it tells health systems who their primary prescribers are so that they can go and talk directly to those physicians and influence their prescribing behavior. Its customers might also use the information to centralize inventory to the central pharmacy, maybe move it around within their health system; if they're multi-hospital, they might move it around among their hospitals, to their health system with multiple hospitals.
- LogicStream also has a drug diversion product which uses the same data platform; that product essentially helps health systems monitor for folks who are taking drugs inside the health system, so the last mile of the supply chain, and inappropriately using them for themselves or selling them into the marketplace for their own gain, which is a requirement by the US government. Then it has a clinical analytics application that looks at workflows inside the health system, so if a prescriber is prescribing certain drugs for patients that have a heart attack, they can look at the workflow that the prescriber goes through to take care of that patient and find efficiencies and areas for quality improvement in those workflows.
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