University of Kentucky Team Wins PQA’s 2019 Healthcare Quality Innovation Challenge

Alexandria, Va. (May 24, 2019) – The University of Kentucky has won the second annual Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) Healthcare Quality Innovation Challenge (HQIC), a national collegiate competition where student teams present technology-enabled solutions to improve healthcare quality. Kentucky was one of three finalists to present a solution to a panel of judges and live audience at the PQA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Md., on May 17.

The winning team of John Brown, Kailyn Conner and Noor Naffakh presented “Patient Engagement with Prescription Talk System (PEPTalkS),” a multi-touch, multi-tech tool to improve primary medication nonadherence rates by connecting patients, prescribers and pharmacists when new medications are not picked up.

The University of California, San Francisco finished second with “The Initiation of Plan $: Utilization of a Government-run Program to Optimize Price Transparency.” The University of Arizona was third with “EICO Technology: Adherence Through Repetition.”

“PQA congratulates the University of Kentucky School of Pharmacy team and all of the teams that participated in this year’s challenge,” Laura Cranston, RPh, PQA CEO, said. “The Healthcare Quality Innovation Challenge is unique because it encourages pharmacy students to work with students in other fields, such as computer science, law and business. It is a competition that brings out the best in our next generation of healthcare leaders, who are developing innovative ideas to advance the quality of medication use.”

The competition included college teams from across the United States and from different disciplines, including pharmacy, epidemiology, business administration and public health. This year’s competing teams were invited to propose a technology-driven solution to optimize polypharmacy, improve primary medication nonadherence, or share patients’ out-of-pocket medication price with their healthcare team at initial encounter to facilitate shared decision-making.

Finalists were selected by a review committee representing PQA’s diverse membership. They were scored on the quality of their presentations and ability to answer questions by a panel of judges, who determined the winner. The panel of judges included Molly Ekstrand of Park Nicollet Health Services, Steven Gilbert of Tabula Rasa Healthcare, Jonathan Magness of Magellan Rx Management, Bhavesh Modi of Healthfirst and Bryce Platt of Omnicell, Inc.

The competition is sponsored by Pharmacy Quality Solutions (PQS).

“This competition is aptly named HQIC, because we want to see quick advances in quality improvement,” Jeff Newell, PQS CEO, said. “The ideas developed by this year’s competing teams are the types of innovative solutions pharmacies and health plans need to achieve their goals. We’re proud to sponsor this competition and its work to engage students in leveraging technology to find real-world solutions that improve quality.”


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Contact: Richard Schmitz, PQA Senior Director of Communications, [email protected] or 703-347-7931