Halcyon helped the State of Ohio Pharmacy Board (“Board”) in using data analytics to tackle a difficult public health issue. The number of opioid overdose deaths continues to increase in Ohio
year to year to the extent where Ohio ranks #1 in the nation in this category. Prescription misuse is a significant contributing factor to this trend. The Board has decided to use analytics to gather information from its prescription data and other data sources with the objective of reducing prescription misuse in Ohio.
Halcyon provided data analytics architect support for this project and played a key role in application analysis, design, development and testing. The following analytics tools, technologies and databases were leveraged on this project – Hadoop, Hive, Impala, Java, Pig, MySql, Oracle, HDFS, and SQL Server.
With the help of Halcyon, the Board was able to define the business requirements, analytics strategy, tools required and implementation plan for this project. The project was able to link business goals and objectives with information needs which in turn were linked with data required.
In addition, the type of analytics that were required to be done on the data were identified. For example, the Board’s prescription system has over 10 years of prescription data which can be analyzed using statistical methods as well as using machine learning approaches to identify hidden patterns in the data. The identification of hidden patterns can provide insight into the types of pharmacies and physicians most involved in prescription misuse and diversion.
Halcyon also identified the tools that can be utilized to analyze the data. The tools included Tableau, Azure Analysis Services, Custom Neural Networks and Azure Machine Learning. In addition to tools, Halcyon identified the business processes that will be impacted (or created) and policies that will need to be revised or defined in support of the Data Analytics effort.
Analytics is being used for the first time at the Board to tackle a difficult public policy issue. One of the challenges faced by the State is getting access to health-related data from outside (and sometimes from inside) the State due to HIPAA issues. Some of this can be tackled by agencies mutually collaborating with each other while other situations required policy decisions to be made and approved by the State. Another challenge was information missing relating to key players in the prescription-misuse value chain. The key players were identified as the Technicians who worked at Pharmacies. After a new policy is defined to track Technicians, data has to be collected for a few years before it becomes useful from an Analytics point of view.
Halcyon provided expertise in the areas of methodology, approach, and technology to this Data Analytics project. By defining a methodology for this unique project, Halcyon was able to produce deliverables and outcomes that were useful to the Board in meeting its long-term objectives. From a technology point of view, our Big Data experts were able to identify tools and techniques that were required to analyze the data contained in OARRS and other systems within the Board. In addition, we were also able to identify external data sources that could be useful to analyzing the data.
While most approaches focus primarily on technology, Halcyon was able to incorporate Process and Policy in this project as well. In order to comply with the State regulations and also policies such as HIPAA, it was important to identify the impact of this Data Analytics project on existing processes and policies and how they would be affected.