University of Pittsburgh Team Wins PQA’s 2020 Healthcare Quality Innovation Challenge

Alexandria, Va. (June 18, 2020) – The University of Pittsburgh has won the third 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. Pittsburgh was one of three finalists to present a solution to a panel of judges. The winning solution was announced during the online PQA Annual Meeting on May 14. 

The winning team of Mohamed Kashkoush, Britney Stottlemyer and Torrey Trahanovsky presented “opiAId: An Overdose Risk Prediction Tool to Support Safe Opioid Prescribing,” an electronic health record-integrated clinical decision support tool to help opioid prescribers and pharmacists assess the opioid overdose risk of individual patients. Individuals are stratified into overdose risk categories, which helps inform the management of pain unrelated to cancer, hospice or sickle cell disease. 

Ohio Northern University finished second with a “Social Determinants of Health Business Proposal.” Touro College of Pharmacy was third with “OPIOIDSCONTROLRX: A Web Browser for Verifying, Confirming, and Controlling Opioids Use.”

“PQA congratulates the University of Pittsburgh 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 a multidisciplinary approach developed technology solution to improve care. This competition brings out the best in our next generation of healthcare leaders and helps them share innovative ideas with the current leaders in medication use quality.” 

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 John Beckner of the National Community Pharmacists Association, Emily Endres of Pharmacy Quality Solutions (PQS) and Dorothy Loy of Walgreens.

The competition is sponsored by PQS.

“Today’s healthcare environment is changing quickly and requires collaboration,” Jeff Newell, PQS CEO said. “The HQIC stimulates students and they work with faculty to innovate solutions that lead to improved patient outcomes. The topics the teams selected to develop for this year’s competition are spot on. PQS is proud to support this effort.”


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