Point-of-Care Partners (POCP) delivered data to their customers using massive Excel spreadsheets and Word documents. But, the sheer size of these documents made them difficult to maintain and deliver, while the complex interface hurt customer retention and acquisition. Knowing that they needed to simplify this process, POCP partnered with mrc's services team to bring this data to the web. mrc delivered a data-driven, web-based solution that perfectly fit POCP's needs.

POCP's new web-based system...

Is easily maintained and enhanced with new features

Improved existing customer satisfaction and new customer acquisition

Eliminated the technical problems and challenges of the old solution

It's been an awesome experience where we can be on that same page. It sounds cliche, but it truly is. We're on the same page on so many different times and topics that, it's scary sometimes that it can be so good.

Keith Fisher, Pharmacist and Senior Consultant at Point-of-Care Partners

Full Text of Video Interview

Who is Point-of-Care Partners?

"My name is Keith Fisher. I'm a pharmacist and a senior consultant with Point-of-Care Partners. Point-of-Care Partners is a large consultancy firm based here in the United States. We deal with some pharmaceutical companies. We deal with some individual consulting projects for payers as well as for providers and as well as for pharmacies themselves.

The three areas where I get most of my involvement with is what we call our regulatory resource center. We do research and then codify and publish data related to the the regulations and the statutes involved with electronic prescribing of prescription drug products and medical devices, as well as the related intangible types of services that are offered by electronic prescribing.

Our customer base is the electronic health records, HR providers, and vendors that are providing their particular software. They incorporate our code--our data--into their logic and then help to service their clients in those activities, such as how to write and send electronic prescriptions or how to submit a paid claim transaction. For example, what are the requirements that's got to be in each one of those types of prescriptions so that their customers can be compliant with the law?

The Challenge

When I came to Point-of-Care Partners, I was asked to help provide leadership and insight into this Regulatory Resource Center (RRC) solution that Point-of-Care Partners was providing to our customers. The solution entailed an Excel spreadsheet--one tab for every single state and the four major territories in the United States. Plus, it included a couple additional tabs related to reporting that were pulling data off of every one of those 54 spreadsheets and putting it into one application.

We backed that up with a couple of very large word Microsoft Word documents. Those documents were a thousand pages per document, and included all of the different statutes and applicable regulations that supported the content that we had put into this Excel spreadsheet.

Essentially, we had what was called a grid in Excel and we had supporting documentation down to the very details about what the actual laws said, to support these pieces. We delivered those files to our customer base on a quarterly basis. When we delivered them, we didn't put them on a disk or we didn't send them out. We pushed them out...and we had problems. We had problems with our customers being able to receive the data. Firewalls were issues. We would submit data and they didn't get it. They didn't think they got it, but it got trapped somewhere else. Not to mention the maintenance nightmare that we had when trying to support the data that was in these different files.

Here's an example: If we were to add a new value that we wanted to track and report state by state, we had to add that field to all 54 states. If we did it wrong, it messed up the entire file. It corrupted the file. We had to start over. It caused us some headaches where we had to really manage and maintain these files, both the Excel file as well as this Word document.

We had to manage and maintain it ourselves and push it out the door. We had all kinds of challenges with people receiving and corrupting them. Not to mention, if we had an error on our side, we had to rebuild the system--oftentimes from scratch, or recreate it. These were major problems. When I came into the organization, that's where we were.

The challenges started to impact our business because we couldn't necessarily retain our customer base. They would say, 'You know, I don't really look at these Word documents that often, and they're kind of cumbersome to use. You know, I got what I needed for this individual project. We don't think we're going to need you on a long term basis.'

So they would cancel the subscription and then come back to us in maybe a couple of years or something, instead of using us as an ongoing tool that allows us to help them be the best that they could be within e-prescribing and medical record type of applications.

It was also challenging for us to demonstrate this particular product to a new customer. We had to use the internet to show them what it was all about. But...once we started to show them the magnitude and the clunkiness, if you will, of how to go back and forth between the documents and that they weren't linked together, it posed a bit of a challenge. They liked the data, but it wasn't very user friendly and that caused a real big problem with us.

We couldn't grow the business with this application, with these particular limitations. So we saw the challenges that our existing functionality had, and knew we needed to simplify it. We needed to come up with a solution that eliminated the need for us to push these very, very large files out the door.

The Solution

POCP Portal Home Screen
POCP's Portal -- Home Screen

We needed the ability to edit and manage the data itself in a more efficient and consistent manner, so that when we touched something or we added something into that application, it didn't break everything else. When we came to mrc, we certainly knew what we wanted to kind of come away with, with an ultimate solution here.

But mrc not only listened to our vision and looked at how we were thinking that this would be solved, they came to the table with a slightly different twist and different types of solutions that took what we had envisioned, added their expertise to it, and just took it up to the next level.

The solution that mrc helped us develop and implement is an online tool. We no longer have this massive spreadsheet that we've got to maintain. It was all converted into a database file that mrc manages for us. One of their services that they offer is they provide us the platform to manage this data, as well as to put that data in a usable fashion for our customers.

So our customers get a login, but we control our customer base. We define the customers and add customers to the file. We add the access and the password protections and which services that they have access to. mrc helped build that infrastructure and logic such that our customers can log on. Instead of having to download a file, they log on to the application in a real-time environment, 24/7. We don't have to worry about it going up and down. It's available at all times of the day whenever they need it, and they can go very quickly to the specific state regulations and the detailed laws related to that solution that we're providing.

It gave us the ability to manage the data much more efficiently. We do it all online and it's all saved in real time. We can QC the data very, very easily. We have a process that we worked out that allows us to QC the data and publish that data. We essentially queue it up so that on a quarterly basis, when we 'release' the service to the customers, it's nothing more than sending them a note saying, 'Hey, the upgraded version has been promoted from development over to live environment. You now have access to the entire gamut of new information that we've got on file in support of all the existing information.'

The Value

I've equated this to basically being a Nirvana solution. It's perfect.

So once we pushed this out about two and a half years ago, we immediately got tremendous feedback from our customers. Customers loved it! It took away their ability to have to manage this on their side. Then they started looking at the content of the data. They saw how mrc was able to integrate these two massive sets of files--these massive Excel spreadsheets and this massive Word document--put it all together so that now with a simple click of a button they hop back and forth between the documentation, the citational documentation that supports every one of the data fields that we codify it in the data

They just absolutely loved it. Renewals went up. We got much better support from our customer base and those that were existing. They weren't canceling on us. We were able to demonstrate this so much easier for potential new customers, and increase the ability to have new customers come on board.

Then some of the customers even saw the ability for us to enhance the system with new data very efficiently. It was seamless to them. They suddenly saw the new data. It was it was really a win win situation for all of us.

The return on that was immediate internally. Our management team saw the enhanced product that we developed. They saw the customer satisfaction that existed. They saw the new customer bases that were coming on board. They clearly very quickly saw the benefit: This is what we got for our for our dollar. We produced a world class solution for our customers. I've equated this to basically being a Nirvana solution. It's perfect.

POCP Portal State Summary
POCP's Portal -- State Summary

Working with mrc

The relationship with Point-of-Care Partners and the specific team at mrc who helped us build, maintain, and manage this solution couldn't be better. On a scale of 1 to 10, it's an easy 10. It's a no-brainer.

Our relationship with mrc has afforded us to be much more efficient in how we are coding the data, how we are displaying the data, and how we deliver our data to our customers. It allows us to focus our attention onto our editor's expertise. If you think about it, we are editors. We find data, we analyze the data, and we publish that data in a fashion that makes sense to our customer base. We can focus on making sure that we're collecting the right information and not have to focus on making sure we don't break something when we incorporate it into the solution. That's a huge savings to us.

It's the old adage of 'time is money'. We're able to save a lot of time of pharmacists and other professionals out there so we can focus our attention on collecting and analyzing the information, and not having to be worried about making sure we put the data in there in the right fashion.

It makes us look really, really good and makes us look really smart. We can focus in on the data and allow the applications and the mrc's talent to help us build the functionality and deliver it to our customers.

The relationship with Point-of-Care Partners and the specific team at mrc who helped us build and maintain and manage this particular solution couldn't be better. On a scale of 1 to 10, it's an easy 10. It's a no-brainer. We're very pleased.

Not only did they help us build that initial application, they helped build these enhancements that we've added horizontally and vertically to the solution. We try to look at any type of enhancement requests within a couple of different viewpoints. One of the lenses that we like to look at: Is this something that has to be taken care of right now, and how do we team up to make that happen? We understand that sometimes we need that analysis piece to be brought to the table. This is what it's doing. This is why it's a problem. Then sometimes we can say, 'Hey, this is how we think we might be able to address it'.

But, mrc has a unique knack to come back to us and say, 'We understand that problem. Or, here's something else to think about on this problem, to expand upon that. And yeah, we agree with that approach. We can do that. Or what about this other approach? We think this might be a little bit better long term.' They help us align with some of our futuristic strategic opportunities that we share from time to time, as this is where we'd like to get into. How can we position this to allow us to take advantage of some things going down in the future?

I'm a big proponent of trying not to paint ourselves into a corner with some solutions out there, and MRC is very attuned to that as well. They're helping us make sure that that doesn't happen. So these types of enhancement requests, we present that usually on an annual basis to mrc. Together we will work towards 'Hey, this this is what we can do. This is what we probably don't want to do. This is how it will look. We have this joint vision of how it's going to look before we actually start to code it. It's been an awesome experience to be on that same page. It sounds cliche, but it truly is. We're on the same page on so many different times and topics that it's scary sometimes that it can be so good. It just helps us jointly build our product. And we hope that it helps mrc as well in growing some of their expertise and technologies that they're learning as we go through this process.

Customers who are thinking about contracting, partnering with mrc services, I have all the highest, expectations and credentials or whatever you want to say. I would give glowing reviews to anybody who wants to develop and build a relationship with MRC services to help them take their business need and help determine a technical solution that's going to help that business grow their business.

I couldn't be happier.

To learn more about POCP, please visit their website: https://www.pocp.com/.

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