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Six Steps to Getting Started with Cloud based 340B Solutions

Six Steps to getting started with Cloud 340B Solutions
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When Choosing a cloud based 340B software,  you want to be sure to check off the following six steps:

  1. ​Evaluate your 340B needs.
  2. Migrate your data or start fresh.
  3. Establish success criteria.
  4. Evaluate cloud based 340B solutions.
  5. Calculate your total cost of ownership.
  6. Setup a proof of concept (POC).
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Step 1: Evaluate Your 340B Business Needs

The 340B Software that's right for you should meet your current needs such as 
  • ​340B drugs may be used only for patients who meet certain eligibility requirements, 
  • ​manage a replenishment model, the entity tracks data feeds (such as inpatient or outpatient status, patient and prescriber eligibility, clinic location, Medicaid status, drug identifier, and quantity dispensed) and sends these data into​ billing software, 
  • software  should be flexible enough to accommodate your future needs. 
Therefore, consider the nature of the data you work with,  the skills and tools already in place, your usage needs, the future plans for your business, and how a 340B Software can take your business further than you imagined.
Data ​What types of data must the 340B database contain? At what rate is new data created? How often will 340B data move in the repository? What crucial information can't you access today?
Fits with existing Skills, tools and processes ​​​​​What tools need to connect to the database? What skills from your current IT team area applicable to the various cloud based data sources? What processes will a cloud based 340B solutions impact?
​340B Usage​Which users and applications will access the database? What types of reports both scheduled or random will you run? How much data would you need to access? How often? How will workloads vary over time? What performance requirements do your users and applications require? Ideally,  how many users should access the 340B software but don't today due to resources constraints?
​Resources​What human resources are available to manage the 340B software? How much investment do you wish to make to monitor and manage availability, performance and security?

Step 2: Migrate Your Data or Start Fresh

 Every Cloud based 340B project should start with assessing how much of your existing environment should migrate to the new system, and what should be built new for a cloud based 340B solutions. These decisions may address everything from design of load process to data models and development life cycle.  Here are the key considerations:

Is this a brand new 340B implementation? ​If so, it often makes sense to design the project to take full advantage of the capabilities of a cloud based 340B solutions rather than cary forward an implementation with lots of constraints.
How satisfied are pharmacists with your current Software? Great satisfaction may indicate it's best to maintain the existing implementation. Low levels of satisfaction clearly indicate change is inevitable.
What aspects of current ​340B deployment aspects were designed?Tools and processes that primarily designed to work around resource constraints, avoid the disruptive effort require to add capacity, or to optimize the cost may be unnecessary for a 340B cloud solution.
​How do present users access the data?​​Users and applications ​that primarily rely on 340B industry standard interfaces. Leveraging industry standards will experience significantly less change to adapt to a new approach.
​How are your 340B reporting and analytics will change the future?​A Solution built to evolve is less likely to be replaced sooner than expected.

Step 3: Establish Success Criteria

How will you measure the success of moving to a new cloud based 340B solution?  Choose the important business and technical requirements. Criteria should focus on accuracy for both 340B Invoice, Replishment order, Purchase Order synchronization methods,  interface with drug manufacturers to communicating about back orders, slow moving drugs, ingesting continuous process from 340B switch provider,  performance of the 340B loads both realtime and batch,  concurrency especially when you perform 340B realtime adjudication in multiple POS terminals,  simplicity and total cost of ownership.

If your new cloud based 340B software has capabillities that weren't available in your previous system, and those capabilities are relevant to evaluating the business and technical success of your new solution, be sure to include them.

As you establish the success criteria of your new solution, determine how you'll measure that success:

​Determine which criteria are quantifiable and which are assessed qualitatively.
Determine how you will measure the quantifiable criteria.
​Figure out how you will assess the qualitative criteria.

Step 4: Evaluate Cloud 340B Solution

Cloud 340B Optimizes time to value, so you can begin to reap the benefits of your new 340B software as soon as possible.

Once you determine your 340B business needs and success criteria, you are ready to start evaluating solutions. In my earlier blogs, I have described the differences between available options in detail. As you compare different solutions, make sure they meet the following criteria.  

Develop a comprehensive check list. Use your own list of 340B Pharmacy Business needs and your criteria for success as a starting point.  But don't overlook positive qualities of your existing software as well that are non-issues for you now.  In other words,  make sure the new cloud based 340B solutions can do everything your current 340B software does but better, and that it overcomes the drawbacks of your current software.

" If you do a POC with mutliple 340B vendors, try to use the same check list for each"


Addresses the current and future 340B needs. for.e.g if you are handling contract pharmacy services such as Management of contract pharmacy​, Specialty pharmacy​, Telepharmacy solutions​, Traditional community pharmacy​ but wish to expand by adding consulting services, make sure your new 340B solution takes care of this business.
Integrates structured and sem-structured data, stores in all in one place,  and avoids the need to create the data silos.
​Figure out how you will assess the qualitative criteria.
Guards against data loss and enables you to easily recover lost data
​Streamlines the data pipeline so that the new data is available for analysis in the shortest possible amount of time.

Step 5: Calculate Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of your 340B Software

340B TCO

Companies typically calculate the TCO over the expected lifetime of the 340B Administrator software, which is commonly one to four years. 

If your choice of a cloud based 340B solution comes down to price,  consider the total cost of ownership. For a conventional 340B software (On-premises type),  total cost of ownership includes the cost of each of the following.

Licensing, typically based on number of claims processed, number of transactions processed or number of users operating the software.​

Hardware - Servers, storage devices, networking, switch, cords, peripherals and so on.

​Office space to house the servers and peripherals.

Streamlines the data pipeline so that the new data is available for analysis in the shortest possible amount of time.

Electricity to run the hardware and keep it under certain temperature.​
​Administration and Maintenance of software, hardware etc.,​
​Data Security - password protection and encryption.​
​​Creation of development, UAT and production environments,
​​Scalability Support of the data center.​

Step 5: Setup up a Proof Of Concept (POC)

Cloud 340B POC

After investigating different cloud based 340B solution options,  viewing demos,  asking questions, and meeting with each vendor's team, you should do a proof of concept (POC) before deciding which to choose.  A POC is a process of testing solution to determine how well it servers your need and meets your success criteria.  Think of it as a test drive.  It typically lasts a day or two, but it can be conducted over the course of several weeks.  You request a POC from the prospective vendor with general understanding that if the solution performs satisfactorily, you will buy the 340B administrator software or any product.  

This is also your chance to think outside the box.  Consider what else you could do above and beyond what you today.  If you had this cloud based 340B solution in place,  what additional business value could this system deliver?

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Comparing Cloud based 340B Solutions

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Thursday, 21 November 2019
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