Alexa

November Edition 2020

An innovator in the healthcare segment with a leading solution for drug diversion: Medacist

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Drug diversion occurs when prescription medications are used or obtained illegally. Healthcare providers who often misuse or divert controlled substances or prescription medications such as opioids put their own life as well as the patient’s life at risk. Drug diversion can lead to substandard care delivery, denial of important pain meds, and infection risk. People getting addicted to prescription drugs have reached epidemic levels, and it is majorly driven by drug diversion. In most cases, the diversion occurs primarily in the professional setting by the people who are assigned to help the patients. Millions of people are addicted to prescription drugs, and out of that, thousands are dying from it. In a few cases, healthcare professionals themselves are found to be addicted to prescription drugs. Healthcare institutes view drug diversion just as seriously as any other lawmaker who upholds punishment for offenders. People insist that the hospitals must set the right tone to deal with any issues in regards to drug diversion sternly. There are various solutions available which the hospitals must use to prevent drug diversion incidents effectively. People responsible for drug diversion can include everyone down the line from surgeons, their assistants, physicians, radiologists, anesthesiologists, nurses, and so on.

Drug diversion can occur at any point in the distribution chain of controlled substances. Pharmacies are responsible for the paper trail of the controlled substances that are present in their facility.

Medacist Solutions Group is a healthcare analytics company focusing on big data, concentrating on acute care (hospital) Pharmacy Automated Dispensing Systems (ADS). The company is based in Connecticut, and it was founded in 1998. RxAuditor was Medacist’s first branded service offering (1998), delivered as a service that performed analytics generated from a patented algorithm and pushed actionable information to hospital pharmacy administrators. In 1996 automated systems were new in the industry allowing healthcare facilities to distribute medication to patients across patient care areas in larger distributed volumes. This technology became the favored method for medication delivery in the industry, and early adopters of these systems soon realized that there was a void in analytics. Pharmacy administrators felt that there was a “false sense of security,” although the medication as secured in a cabinet, who was watching the activities?

In 1998 Medacist developed RxAuditor to measure, monitor, and manage clinical, economic, and operational metrics and deliver actionable information associated with these ADS. The primary focus was on drug diversion. This led to the development of a patented algorithm for monitoring and ultimately detecting users who were potentially diverting medication.

In conversation with David J. Brzozowski, Jr., CTO of Medacist

Q. How do you deal with the “never ending change” in digital transformation?

I believe the best approach to dealing with the “never ending change” in digital transformation is to take part in the change at hand. In my opinion a company can either be a technology consumer or a technology contributor. Companies that assume the consumer role spend most of their time structuring their solutions to consume technology as it evolves rather than focusing on innovating their own solutions. It is crucial that a business assume the role of a contributor in order to be exclusively focused on innovating their own solutions. With this understanding, Medacist has developed a technological strategy that we believe allows us to innovate and provide business value to clients with high velocity. This strategy focuses on all aspects of technology and consists of the following initiatives:

  • Adoption of open source technologies: all application development should be built on-top of open source technologies.
  • All features should be client focused: each week there should be a review of client suggestions, clients have open channels to make suggestions and all thesiliconreview-5-best-bigdata-companies-to-watch-us-cover-20suggestions should be considered.
  • Fast and Frequent Iteration: Software releases are frequent (bi-weekly or monthly) value is made available to clients as soon as it is ready. Recognizing that each day, new technology is birthed with the intent to make yesterday’s widely adopted solution obsolete. As a result, it is impossible to pinpoint what the technology landscape will look like 5 to 10 years from today. For this reason, Medacist believes that constant innovation is the only way to keep up with digital transformation.

How does Medacist improve customers’ experience using big data and AI?

The core competency of a SaaS business is to provide value to its users. At Medacist our goal is to deliver insight to our clients that can be acted on, ultimately serving as the catalyst that streamlines the decision-making process. The value Medacist is able to deliver to clients is measured by the speed and accuracy in which we are able to impact the decision-making process of our clients. Outlined below are some of the techniques Medacist leverages to indefinitely tune our solutions and optimize our clients’ ultimate value.

Techniques:

  • Reinforcement Learning Feedback

Through Reinforcement Learning, analysis can be tuned based on feedback provided by end-users. For example, in RxAuditor Investigate (Medacist’s Diversion Prevention Solution), end-users of the application can provide feedback on the analysis presented. This feedback is then fed back into our neural network for consideration on subsequent analysis. As a result, end-users that are more active in providing feedback will see subsequent analysis become more accurate.

  • Unsupervised Learning “Clustering”

Through clustering, we can build a profile of like entities (health systems, hospitals, nurses, doctors, patients, etc...) based on the observed characteristics. By clustering entities with similar characteristics, Medacist can build sample sets that are more significant, resulting in a more accurate analysis. In addition, by leveraging these entity profiles, we are able to synthetically create sample sets that include the entirety of the Medacist’s client base (“Synthetic Demographic Profiling”). This, in turn, extends the comparative analysis scope beyond the client’s organization, which has a limited statistical significance by nature. Another approach to building a large sample set would be to rely on historical data within the client’s organization’s same scope. Although there is value in trending analysis, not all analysis will benefit from historical sample sets as they take a long time to gather and are volatile as the format of the source data can frequently change. Through our “Synthetic Demographic Profiling” methodology, we can build a sample set in less time, resulting in an overall increase in our clients’ speed in identifying at-risk-individuals.

Q. How do you address the data quality issues?

Data quality is, by far, the most important piece in an analytics solution. We have a saying on our data engineering team, “Garbage in, garbage out.” As a consumer of multiple data sources, including ADS and EHR, it is crucial to the accuracy of our solutions that we ensure the quality of the data we receive before processing it. To address this, we have built and integrated a data purification engine into our Genesis Data Engine. Every column in every row of data that we receive is validated to ensure quality. In addition to data purification, we also enrich the data we receive. Data enrichment aids in the process of standardizing data formats sourced from separate vendors or platforms.

Q. Storing big data, particularly sensitive data, can make companies a more attractive target for cyberattackers. How do you ensure your offering is secure?

As data security is our highest priority, Medacist has built its own custom cloud we call “RxCloud”. “RxCloud” was built so Medacist would have complete control over all aspects of the infrastructure layer. To accomplish this, Medacist owns and operates its own Tier 4 data centers that support “RxCloud”. “RxCloud” was built for security, scalability, and performance and is built using industry leading hardware and software technologies. All of Medacist’s SaaS offerings (RxAuditor Investigate, Genesis Data Engine, etc..) run on top of “RxCloud”, this ensures that our solutions and the underling infrastructure have the highest level of security and availability.

Q. What are your trajectories for the next 5 years?

The long-term vision for Medacist is to be an all-encompassing analytics solution for operations and compliance within health organizations. The usage of informatics in healthcare is increasing year over year. Recognizing this opportunity, Medacist plans to grow the market share of our existing offerings as well as expand into emerging markets through new offerings. Based on Medacist’s product roadmap strategy, our historical growth rate, and future market projections, Medacist expects to grow 500% by 2025.

Meet the Expert

David Brzozowski, Jr. is the Chief Technology Officer of Medacist. He attended Trinity College and Quinnipiac University. Starting out as a self-taught developer, David quickly became a seasoned professional in the technology space. He previously served as Director of Software Development for Medacist which ultimately led him to his CTO role. David is also the CEO and Founder of Dynamic Data Solutions a data engineering firm. His accelerated success is a result of his relentless nature and his ability to engineer solutions from a holistic perspective. Drawing from his experience, David continues to push Medacist and its offerings forward through his commitment to Medacist’s core value - Innovation.

“We are proud to say that thousands of hospitals across the U.S. have relied on our analytics suites to ensure regulatory compliance, reduce liability, and ensure patient safety.”