How Can a Specialty Pharmacy Access Complete Medical Records?


Complex medical conditions often involve a large care team that relies on the patient record. Specialty pharmacies are a key part of the team as the specialty pharmacist is knowledgeable on key information on the individual medication, possible drug interactions, unique administration, best practices for patient monitoring and more. Specialty pharmacists need access to the complete patient record and integrated technology tools to help deliver the best patient outcome.

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The number of specialty medications available to treat complex conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, respiratory conditions or rheumatoid arthritis has increased more than 1,200% since the mid-90s – from fewer than 30 to more than 500 specialty medications today. Furthermore, by 2023, it is projected that  65% of new drug launches will be for specialty therapies, rare diseases and cancer. Spending on specialty drugs accounts for more than 50% of the nation’s drug spending.  It makes sense, then, that specialty pharmacies – charged with managing the requirements, handling, storage, dosing and follow-up care of these high-cost, high-touch medications – have seen rapid growth in the past several years.

With that growth comes a need for software systems to manage specialized follow-up care.  There are a number of systems designed for specialty pharmacies such as Wellsky’s CPR+ and CareTrend, as well as others that support the specific needs of specialty pharmacies. CVS Health implemented Epic’s EHR system in its specialty pharmacies to “enable immediate information sharing with other health care providers across the patient’s entire care team.” And, with about one-third of specialty pharmacies located within the hospital setting, large hospital networks continue to align their specialty pharmacy systems such that they allow easy access to the patient’s main medical record.

From the moment a physician prescribes a specialty drug, the clinical pharmacist’s access to the patient medical record matters.

Speed matters.

Accuracy matters.

Responsiveness matters.

Specialty pharmacies are uniquely positioned to collect clinical and qualitative data needed to assess therapy effectiveness and recommend interventions. Specialty pharmacies can be especially helpful if they have the information needed with an integrated EHR pharmacy platform and a clear understanding of what metrics to track. Because it provides a full view of the medication list and lab results, the electronic medical record (EMR) plays a critical role in specialty pharmacy.

As pharmacy systems are upgraded and mergers and acquisitions continue, the need for a specialty pharmacy’s access to medical records remains. As specialty pharmacies continue to work through the technology integration that follows mergers and acquisitions and upgrade their systems, maintaining access to legacy pharmacy records as well as the complete and active patient narrative is vital.

HealthData Archiver™ is a HIPAA-compliant record storage solution that can manage specialty pharmacy data. It promotes interoperability and offers built-in workflows for release of information managers, clinicians, pharmacists, legal and compliance officers, rev cycle collectors, researchers and human resources.

At Harmony Healthcare IT, our mission is to preserve vital information to improve lives with our product, HealthData Archiver™, which delivers cost-savings, information access and transaction posting benefits. It also fortifies defenses against cyberattack by providing a single and secure storage place for disparate silos of legacy data. Harmony Healthcare IT has been consistently ranked as the #1 data extraction, migration, and archival healthcare IT company according to Black Book™ Market Research for three years (2019-2021) as well as ranked #1 in the 2020 Best in KLAS Software & Services Report as a Category Leader in Data Archiving.

We migrate and archive records across the care continuum – for hospitals, health systems, pharmacies, clinics, labs, blood banks, home health care, long-term care and more.

Have mergers and acquisitions impacted your specialty pharmacy system? Does your organization have disparate systems running, leaving legacy data at risk? We can help.

Note: This blog has been updated from an original post on July 15, 2020.

Oct 21 2021

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