How to Get Healthier Data for Sunshine Act & Patient Advocacy Reporting

BlogAugust 9, 2018

In 2013, the Transparency Reports and Reporting of Physician Ownership of Investment Interests section of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—more easily referred to as the “Sunshine Act”—went into effect for physicians. The basic gist of the act was to bring transparency to the financial relationships between doctors, hospitals, and manufacturers of drugs, biologics, and medical devices. Its intent was to bring potential conflicts of interest to light with the goal of driving down healthcare costs. One hope was that with access to this information about their physicians, patients would be more involved with their treatment to ensure they were getting the best prescription for their health and budget, not just the drug that a pharma company paid a doctor to promote.

While the Sunshine Act hasn’t much impacted patients’ relationships with their care or their doctors, the data collected has shown some thought-provoking—and potentially distressing—results. Recently, Sunshine Act data revealed proof that for every extra dollar a doctor in New York state received in opioid-related payments, they prescribed $10 or more of additional opioids. For a country in the midst of an opioid crisis, that’s a deeply concerning statistic.

Now transparency is coming for pharmaceutical companies. The newly proposed Patient Advocacy Transparency Act of 2018 would require pharma companies to report payments made to nonprofit organizations and patient advocacy groups, professional societies, clinical trial organizations, and continuing education providers. Beyond doctors revealing what they receive, requiring pharma to record what payment they give will provide an additional layer of reporting disclosure.

Which means pharma, in addition to other healthcare companies that are already reporting, may need to add significantly more reporting layers to already complex and time-consuming processes.

Sick of Reporting?

While this transparency is a positive movement for healthcare, the reporting process itself has been a challenge, both financially and time-wise. One expert estimates that it has cost the industry over a billion dollars to set up their reporting systems, and another half billion a year just to operate them. Smaller companies especially have struggled to gather the required data, and larger companies have entire staffs dedicated simply to all their reporting needs.

We think there’s an easier way to get that data.

Regardless of whether or not pharma is going to have to join the ranks of transparency reporting, doctors and healthcare companies can accomplish their own reporting quickly and easily. With a far more cost-effective solution to boot.

Take Two and Call Us in the Morning

It seems that no matter what industry it is, most organizations have similar pain points: Data is scattered across several disparate sources—an ERP, electronic medical records (EMRs), and others—and pulling it together into one report is a cumbersome and time-consuming process.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to stay that way: We can make your reporting as easy as taking blood pressure with an automatic cuff.

Sound impossible? It’s not with Spreadsheet Server and Atlas for Dynamics. Both of these premiere Excel automation reporting platforms have the ability to connect your ERP, EMR, and other data sources to feed a single automated spreadsheet report.  Not only that, but each report features drill-down capability. That means that with a single click, you can see all the data behind the end result number—for instance, the line item data behind your Sunshine Act payment and transfers of value total.

Additionally, all the data in your reports is live. This means that the numbers you see on your report reflect the real-time data situation in all your sources, allowing you to report and make decisions on to-the-minute data, not data from as long as 30 days ago. This drastically reduces complicated reporting processes and their typical symptoms of multiple downloads and manual data manipulation.

Finally, all of this live data is reported directly in Excel. You won’t even have to open your ERP or other data source. Spreadsheet Server and Atlas do all the work for you, connecting to data sources and returning results into reports you can easily build with your existing Excel knowledge.

Whether the Patient Advocacy Transparency Act of 2018 passes or not, it’s still a good time to consider consolidating and automating your reporting processes. And if you’re already reporting for the Sunshine Act, you’re probably already counting up how much time report automation could save you in the future. Many healthcare facilities save up to 100 hours on their reporting processes every year; Rush-Copley Medical Center estimates they saved 200 – 300 hours in one year!

How many Sunshine Act and financial reporting hours could you save with Excel automation? Let’s get a diagnosis.

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