MUSC spinoff tackles hospital pharmacy cost savings through new software platform
AscendRx identifies medication spend savings opportunities for hospitals
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Nov. 19, 2019) -Hospital pharmacies now have an innovative software platform to help them make better spending decisions thanks to a spinoff company from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).
Many hospital pharmacists report that identifying the most cost-effective products for an organization can swiftly become overwhelming when marketplace agreements are consistently and rapidly changing and manufacturers enter and exit the pharmacy supply chain.
In 2017, Jonathan Yantis, a former MUSC Health Innovation team leader and now CEO of AscendRx, along with colleagues in theMUSC departments of Pharmacy and Information Solutions, collaborated to develop easy-to-use tools that addressed this unmet need.
“Most complex academic medical centers lack sufficient data and internal coordination to execute on the best pharmaceutical pricing. AscendRx provides 360 degrees of real time insight into the world of purchasing and restores intelligent oversight to pharmacy administration,” said David Habib, M.D., MUSC Health Associate chief medical officer for supply chain and capital management and Pharmacy Integrated Clinical Center of Excellence chief.
Through collaboration and constant iteration, the team was able to create several effective solutions to pressing supply chain issues, and as a result, MUSC was able to save millions of dollars in the first year of using the platform.
“With AscendRx, we have been able to monitor and respond to volatility in the market in a way we have never have been able to before,” said Jason Mills, MUSC Pharmacy supply chain manager. “Our procurement decision-makers are identifying opportunities, assessing data and making improvements more rapidly and more often.”
AscendRx is a pharmaceutical spend analytics platform that helps health systems identify savings opportunities by evaluating purchasing trends and price changes in real time, automatically identifying action items for cost reduction. In addition to the boost in savings, MUSC Health pharmacists reported positive changes in their supply chain workload and are now considered “best in class” in terms of medication spend efficiency metrics from their peer group.
Matt Hebbard, former MUSC medication stewardship pharmacist and pharmacist in charge of customer success at AscendRx, joined the business full-time this year. “MUSC Health has always had a very competitive pharmacy supply chain but keeping up with the volume of changes in the marketplace was a grueling job. The manual reports and calculations needed to stay afloat were more than what even the biggest teams could handle. Innovative leadership and buy-in from our Pharmacy and Information Solutions administrators helped us to get the resources to perfect this and make MUSC No. 1.”
“Once it was clear that the solution was working, we knew that it would be useful at other health systems that were facing the same challenges, so our team partnered with the MUSC Foundation for Research Development to explore commercialization opportunities,” Yantis said. “FRD helped us form the company at this time last year and we now have a licensed platform that enables us to commercialize this product and help decrease medication spend across the nation. When hospital pharmacies can keep their costs lower, those savings are passed on to patients and their families so at the end of the day, this platform helps us all save more money.”
AscendRx is spinoff company of the Medical University of South Carolina that identifies medication savings in real-time and streamlines execution without increasing existing workloads. AscendRx was founded by pharmacists and technologists from the academic medical center space who understand the potential in health system supply chain and develop key solutions to unlocking it.
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the oldest medical school in the South, as well as the state’s only integrated, academic health sciences center with a unique charge to serve the state through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and 700 residents in six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The state’s leader in obtaining biomedical research funds, in fiscal year 2019, MUSC set a new high, bringing in more than $284 million.For information on academic programs, visit musc.edu.
As the clinical health system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest quality patient care available, while training generations of competent, compassionate health care providers to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Comprising some 1,600 beds, more than 100 outreach sites, the MUSC College of Medicine, the physicians’ practice plan, and nearly 275 telehealth locations, MUSC Health owns and operates eight hospitals situated in Charleston, Chester, Florence, Lancaster and Marion counties. In 2019, for the fifth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. To learn more about clinical patient services, visit muschealth.org.
MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets of $3 billion. The more than 17,000 MUSC team members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers and scientists who deliver groundbreaking education, research, technology and patient care.