In one form or another, cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) have been around for decades.  But Cloud340B - SaaS for 340B solutions has only recently emerged as an alternative to conventional, on-premises 340B automation and similar types of solutions that have appeared in recent years. Why? Why now? What's changed?  In this blog, we answer these questions, and more.

I begin by defining what a 340B automation is and explore the evolution of 340B automation to understand how this technology has made its way to the cloud.  Then we look at how organizations can benefit from Cloud340B and explain why more covered entities and contract pharmacies rely on Cloud340B to compete in today's data-driven economy. 

Nearly all of a covered entity 340B data is stored in a multitude of disperate databases.  The key questions to ask are: How accessible is that 340B data? How much will it cost to extract, store, and analyze all of your 340B data historically? And, what will happen if you don't? 

by Data Management Expert from RCTECH Solutions Inc

What is Cloud340B?

Cloud 340B software helps 340B Covered Entities and Contract Pharmacies in efficiently managing the 340B program by onboarding new covered entities and its users in minutes, locating and addressing pricing discrepancies, providing detailed eligibility checks, effectively managing procurement and inventory, publishing monthly invoices and dashboards for every Covered Entity for an automated decision process, deducting the NDC cost and deliver 100% HRSA compliance reports.

In addition to above, Cloud340B is a software dedicated to storing and analyzing data to reveal trends, patterns, and correlations that provide information and insight.  Traditionally,  either covered entities or pharmacies have used their database systems to store and integrate data collected from their internal sources(usally pharmacy software), including marketing, sales, dispensation, inventory and finance.  The 340B automation emerged when covered entities realized that analyzing data directly from those internal systems competed with the day-to-day activities of pharmacy users such as data entry and operational reporting.

Over the years,  data sources have expanded beyond internal pharmacy operations and external transactions.  They now include exponentially greater volumes of data and more complex data from websites, mobile phones, Point of Sale,  online pharmacy apps,  and even machines.  Most recently, companies are capturing huge amounts of data from IoT- enabled devices.

The Evolution of 340B Automation

​Historically,  businesses collected data in well-defined, structured forms at a reasonably predictable rate and volume.  Even as the speed of older technologies advanced, data access and usage were carefully controlled and limited to ensure acceptable performance for every user.  This required pharmacy businesses to be more tolerant of longer analytics cycles for making better decision and learning deeper insights.

Times have changed. Advances in technology mean companies can now make significant business decisions backed by large amounts of data.  And it's not just the market leaders or advance technology leaders.  Smaller, nimble market entrants continue to transform well-established covered entities within months or just a couple of years.  They are doing so with data to reveal opportunities and develop products and services that change how contract pharmacies and covered entities engage their patients. 

Recognizing the limitations of conventional 340B Solutions

Coventional 340B program solutions were not designed to handle the volume, variety and complexity of today's data.  And newer systems designed to address these shortcomings struggle to accommodate the data access and analysis that covered entities require.  The term conventional which we are discussing here with a few practices while supporting 340B program.  They are 

  1. Internally managed or created software program that collects the data and able to deliver invoices on monthly basis.  This option is difficult to manage wide variety of data formats as data sources are more numerous and varied, resulting in more diverse data structures that must co-exist in a single location to enable exhaustive and affordable 340B analysis. 
  2. Traditional methodology and architecture inherently cause competition between pharmacy users and data integration activities, making it difficult to simultaneously pipe new data into the database and provide users with adequate performance. 
  3. scaling up a conventional 340B data storage to meet today's increasing storage and workload demands, when possible, is expensive, painful and slow.
  4. The most recent, alternative 340B platforms are often complex, requiring specialized skills and configuration.  This struggle worsens when trying to handle the growing number and diversity of data sources, users and queires.
But all is not lost! Like all great things, technology evolves. New ideas and new methods emerge to address the significant business problems ot today and the aspirations to tomorrow.
Getting up to the speed of Cloud based 340B solution

340B Cloud Technology and design to the rescue!

The good news is that technology, and cloud340B architecture, have evolved to address the demands of the data driven 340B economy with the following innovations:

The Cloud:  A key factor driving the evolution of the modern 340B solution is the cloud.  This creates access to realtime data, low-cost storage, improved scalability, the outsourcing of 340B management and security to the cloud vendor, and the potential to pay for only the storage and computing resources actually used.  Cloud340B is a cost effective way for companies to take advantage of the latest technology and architecture without the huge upfront cost to purchase, install, and configure the required hardware, software and infrastructure. The various 340BCloud options are generally grouped into the following three categories.

Traditional 340B software deployed on cloud infrastructure: This option is very similar to a conventional data warehouse, as it reuses the original code base.  So you still need IT expertise to build and manage the 340B solutions. while you dont have to purchase and install the hardware and software, you may still to do significant configuration and tuning, and perform operations such as regular backups.

Traditional 340B software hosted and managed in the cloud by a third party as a managed service: With this option, the third party provider supplies the IT expertise, but you are still like to experience many of the same limitations of a coventional 340B solutions. 340B software is hosted on hardware installed in a data center managed by the vendor. This is similar to what the industry referred to as an application service provider. The customer still has to specify in advance how much disk space and compute resources(CPUs and memory) they expect to use.

A True SaaS based Cloud340B Software: ​With this option,  often referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS),  RCTECH delivers a complete 340B solutions that includes all hardware and software and the IT and database administration expertise required. Customers typically pay only for the storage and computing resources they use, when they use them. This option should scale up and down on demand.

Why You Need a Cloudbased 340B Solution?

Any Covered Entity or Contract Pharmacy that depends on data to better serve their customers, strealine their pharmacy operations, and lead their industry will benefit from a Cloud340B.  Unlike massive, traditional 340B database, the cloud340B means businesses big and small can size their database to meet their needs and their budget, and dynamically grow and contract their system as things change from day-to-day and year-to-year. 

Here are a few areas where cutting-edge Cloud340B technology can significantly improve a pharmacy's operations:

Patient 340B Experience: ​Monitoring end-user behavior can help covered entities or contract pharmacies tailor prescribers, patients, services and discounts to the needs and demands of individual patientsl. With patient sentiment analysis, pharmacies understand better what patients think by analyzing their social media postings, tweets, and other online messaging.

Quality Assurance: ​Covered Entities can also use the analysis of patient sentiment to monitor for early warning signs of patient service issues or product shortcomings and take action sooner than was previously possible when the only data source was call center compliant logs.

340B Operational Efficiency: ​Cloud340B consists of Operational intelligence that consists of monitoring business processes and analyzing events to identify where a covered entity can reduce costs,  boost margins, streamline processes,  respond to market forces more rapidly and so on.

Innovation ind 340B space: ​RCTECH spends tremendous midnight oil in innovation and 340B realtime adjudication process. Instead of only checking the rearview mirror to understand an covered entity's recent past, they can use Cloud340B of data to spot and capitalize on trends, thereby disrupting their industry.