Meet The Craneware Group experts: Mark Slykhouse

As a college student, Mark Slykhouse had planned to go into public service. He majored in political science as an undergraduate and received a master’s degree in public policy and political science from Wayne State University in Detroit to go with his law degree. Instead, technology came calling.

It was while attending Northern Michigan University as an undergrad that he took a job fixing and preparing laptops as part of the school’s program distributing them to students and faculty. He parlayed that experience into a job with McKesson providing frontline technology support to retail pharmacy customers, eventually leading product management for the healthcare conglomerate’s retail pharmacy systems and moving to Atlanta with his wife and family.

As director of product management at The Craneware Group, Slykhouse has a big hand in gauging the needs of the market and shaping products and services. The position combines his technology acumen with his service orientation.

“We identify what is going to be the most valuable to our customers and ensure we prioritize those issues and focus our development on the right solutions,” he said.

Slykhouse joined Craneware in 2018.

Where does CRCA P&T fit into the portfolio of products at Craneware?

Craneware has been developing pharmacy analytics solutions for a number of years. But recently, we have really been focused on providing visibility and transparency through a pharmacy analytics portfolio. We envision integrating the analytics derived from CRCA P&T into the analytics modules within Trisus Pharmacy, enhancing Trisus Pharmacy’s analytics platform.

Originally, CRCA P&T was intended to be a standalone solution. It has the pricing and cost analysis, the population builder (POP-BUILDER) and the drug remittance dashboard. With those three modules, CRCA P&T fits in well with the pharmacy analytics suite of Trisus products at Craneware and unlocks a number of complementary capabilities. Now we can look at a hospital’s remittances and compare them to their purchases over their history. We can audit the accuracy of data within their formulary with our Trisus Pharmacy Formulary module, while also analyzing the drug cost and pricing from CRCA P&T. We can further enable clinical teams through clinical population building and clinical analysis at each hospital through POP-BUILDER.

So there’s a variety of things that we can really bring together to create a whole suite of products that have individual, targeted focus areas that solve different problems.

Can you discuss what kind of enhancements the platform will be seeing?

Currently, we are working on a new design for the medication groupings so that we can bring a new view to how drug costs are evaluated and what opportunity they have to lower costs by comparing prices and identifying existing opportunities. It’s a new layout of the analysis that we’re doing today, but it’s going to provide better insights for them and a better visual experience.

It seems like CRCA P&T and Trisus Financial Management overlap somewhat. How are they similar and different?

There is a bit of overlap there. But essentially, it means that we have doubled down on getting reimbursement data to customers.

Trisus Pharmacy Financial Management traces an organization’s historic purchases and reimbursement over time. CRCA is really designed to show that view of where your reimbursements are, with the goal of incorporating that concept of the real-world data so that we can provide that benchmarking and comparison. The benefit of CRCA is that real-world data analysis, where you are looking at your spend and comparing that to other organizations that are also buying that same medication. You’re looking at your patient population, and comparing your drug spend and eventually your remittances with your comparator group and other organizations of the same type or selection. This comparative function highlights the real-world data analytics that CRCA P&T uniquely brings.

You’re working in a totally different field now in technology, but do you find much use for your law and political science skills these days?

Absolutely. I’m involved in contract negotiations, vendor partnerships and vendor selection. We work with very large organizations who have very rigorous compliance requirements, so we make sure technology security is up to snuff. PHI is a big issue and making sure that we’re abiding by HIPAA and HITECH regulations is essential. I’m now involved with the Sentry side of the business and with 340B, keeping abreast of all of the regulations and changing dynamics in this incredibly fast-paced industry. Healthcare technology, and the healthcare landscape generally, is incredibly complicated in the United States. It’s something that my background has absolutely helped to understand public policy and the market dynamics as we seek to create solutions for the ever-changing technology needs of healthcare providers.