Managing With A Mission

VP Kus keeps a development team pointed in the right direction.

As the Henry Ford Health System’s VP of Ambulatory Pharmacy Services, with full management responsibilities for 28 pharmacies, you’d be right in assuming Dan Kus has his eye focused squarely on the bottom line. Where you’d probably be wrong is in assuming what that bottom line is. “We’ve always been a mission-based organization,” says Kus, who’s now been with Henry Ford for 30 years, “and it was the mission that led our team to develop Dromos PTM software for Pharmacy Advantage.”

They hadn’t planned it that way. Dan explains: “In 2011, we started looking for an existing clinical software that would integrate with Pharmacy Advantage’s McKesson dispensing system. At the time, we faced the same challenges as all other specialty pharmacies: Having to dual-enter relevant patient information in our clinical program, and then separately into McKesson.

Hello, anybody out there?

“That’s where it started: We just wanted a solution that would minimize the amount of time our pharmacists wasted inputting data — and free them to invest more of their day doing what they’ve devoted their lives and careers to: Serving patients. We searched the market, but there was nothing that did what we wanted. I still remember deciding, late one Saturday night, ‘If we can find enough people in-house with the dedication and passion to make our vision a reality, why not us?”

The vision, and the product, evolves.

Pharmacy Advantage officially launched Dromos three years later, by which time it had expanded into a comprehensive workflow management system. The benefits most Pharmacy Advantage pharmacists would likely mention are the ease of entering, accessing and organizing data in Dromos — from patient notes to drug information in the Micromedex database.

“Now that pharmacists have all the data at their fingertips, they can focus patient follow-up calls on proactive counseling — instead of wasting patients’ time, and theirs, re-hashing information they gathered during initial calls.”

An Epic upgrade

The Dromos team’s next giant step forward is its integration with Henry Ford’s EMR system, Epic. “Our goal now, when we’re serving patients within the Henry Ford system, is accessing their information directly — rather than having to acquire it manually by requesting additional documentation from prescribers. Which means we’ll be able to take the quality of our patient counseling — which is already vastly-improved over the last three years — to an even higher level.”

Practical applications

While Dromos was specifically developed by and for Specialty Pharmacies, Dan sees tremendous potential for the product within retail pharmacies. “Think about how many oncology patients buy their drugs from big box corner pharmacies. With Dromos, a pharmacist could instantly access a patient’s drug information from the Micromedex database — and offer them a level of counseling support you normally associate with specialists.”

That said, Dromos’ team is still in the early stages of commercializing the product for that broader market. “It’s no secret there’s a huge shift in the healthcare dollars being spent on specialty medications. With Dromos, organizations looking to gain access to limited-distribution drugs will already have 30 to 40% of all the key information they’ll need for successful URAC accreditation, right there in the software. We know that because one of our team members is a URAC auditor.”

A proud father

Dan doesn’t mind trumpeting Dromos’s unrivaled position as the best in the market. “We’ve demo’d the product for dozens of health systems, drug wholesalers, Group Purchasing Organizations and other pharmacies. Everyone, without exception, has said we’re absolutely superior to the competition.” Which shouldn’t be a surprise, given the fact that Dromos is the only product developed by and for clinicians.

“Think about it this way: Our competitors may test their programs with one or two focus groups a year. Our product’s been tested and refined with the direction of a full-time ‘focus group’ (namely Pharmacy Advantage’s entire clinical staff) for the last six years.”

The end game? Collaboration and Commercialization.

Given Dromos’s long-term industry potential, Dan’s team has pursued a number of licensing partnerships with entities already established in the clinical software sector. “We know Dromos has huge commercial potential. And by integrating it with electronic medical record systems, we’re closing the loop for complete coordination of care — which, in turn, will provide even more valuable utilization, demographic, financial and clinical outcomes data for treating patients in the future.

Now. And Then.

“I think back to where we were 30 years ago. Every day, we’d hear patients say things like ‘My doctor is so mad I’m not taking my medication right.’ What they’re really saying is, ‘I want someone to care about me.’ In a world where everyone’s buried in their smartphones, patients need caregivers who do more than just tell them how to use their drugs. Dromos has given our clinicians the time to care for patients’ total well-being, as people. That’s why we developed it.”

In short: Mission Accomplished Daily.