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We Need Your Help to Build an SDOH Resource Guide

PQA is developing a social determinants of health (SDOH) resource guide that will document real-world SDOH services, including screening, referring or intervening, conducted by or involving pharmacists or pharmacies. The guide will provide details on interventions that are promising for improving the quality and safety of medication use.

We need your help to identify promising or proven interventions!

There is no current resource that catalogues pharmacist and pharmacy-centered SDOH services. This guide will provide health care professionals with ideas and examples of SDOH services they can implement.

To maximize the guide’s depth and value, PQA invites submissions to be considered for inclusion. Based on PQA member input provided at last November's Leadership Summit, we are most interested at this time in interventions that address:
  • Screening for Unmet Needs
  • Cost of Medications
  • Cultural or Literacy Barriers
The initial guide will focus on these areas, but we welcome submissions on other interventions.
You are invited to provide robust details, but if you only have limited information, we want that, too. We recognize that many SDOH efforts are in their early stages, or you may have only seen them in a presentation or news story.

Our staff will research any partial examples to develop a more complete profile of the intervention. Any submissions provided may be published in the guide and promoted in PQA’s communications or educational programs.

The initial guide will be published by the end of 2021, and we plan to update and expand it in the future. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at [email protected].

 
 
 

Five For Friday, June 25: Celebrating Success in Advancing Medication Use Quality

As a member driven organization, people are what makes PQA great and effective in building consensus to advance medication use quality. PQA is a rare association where different and often competing sectors work together towards a common goal -- improving patient care and outcomes.

We recently launched a new blog series to profile our member leaders and staff, whose commitment and expertise drive PQA's success. You can read more about the series below.

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Setting the Course for PQA’s Future

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

That sage wisdom imparted by John Muir, the renowned 19th century mountaineer, naturalist and father of the National Parks is a perfect statement for reflecting on the future for PQA.

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Ten Great Things to Do at the PQA Annual Meeting

The PQA Annual Meeting is next week, Tuesday, May 11, through Thursday, May 13, with a companion Research Symposium on Monday, May 17. This year's meeting has more than 50 educational, networking and entertainment sessions or events. You can register at any time to attend and, if you miss any sessions, they're available to all registrants on demand after the meeting.

Here are 10 of the fantastic opportunities to learn, network and engage at the 2021 PQA Annual Meeting.
  1. Participate in the Town Hall Meeting with Micah Cost on May 11. You’ll hear insights on his first 100 days leading PQA and his vision for the future. For part of the event, he’ll be joined by former CMS Administrator Mark McClellan and former CMS Senior Advisory Larry Kocot.

  2. Gain insights on Equity in Medication Use Quality with our general session that will explore the barriers that lead to unfair and avoidable differences in health outcomes and how can we remove them. We’ll hear from a patient, Lilly’s Director of Global Health Literacy and PQA Board member Sharon Jhawar.

  3. Hear about COVID-19’s Impact on Quality with a general session that will share insights on what happened in the market and which changes in care could positively or negatively impact quality in the future.

  4. Hear about the importance of medication quality in patient-centered, team-based care and the role of pharmacists. Our Value-Based Care general session will discuss real-world examples that are shaping the future of care.

  5. Earn 6.0 contact hours of continuing pharmacy education credit. CE is available for all 12 Focused Sessions, and you can attend sessions for credit live or on-demand through June 11.

  6. Sign up for PQA’s Medication Use Quality continuing education and certificate program this month and receive a $50 discount on top of the member rate, as an Annual Meeting attendee. PQA members will receive 15 hours of advanced training for just $175. The code will be shared live with all meeting attendees.

  7. Attend four Innovation Theaters for creative business solutions from four leading vendors: Aspen RxHealth, EnlivenHealth, OutcomesMTM, and Tabula Rasa Healthcare.

  8. Attend a networking reception with PQA Board members and fellow meeting attendees, Wednesday, May 12, at 3:30 p.m. ET.

  9. Relax, do something fun and engage with other PQA members. We have a trivia hour on May 11 at 4:00 p.m. ET and a special musical guest on May 12 at 3:10 p.m. ET.

  10. Attend the Research Symposium on Monday, May 17, to learn about PQA’s work in medication access and SDOH and to see presentations on four PQA-funded projects.

Also, don't forget to visit with our meeting sponsors! During the meeting, you can schedule an appointment or meet with them instantly through convenient Zoom rooms. Their support makes the PQA Annual Meeting possible and together they are among our nation's leaders in improving medication use quality.

Elevating the Patient Voice in Quality

PQA is committed to patient-centered principles, including health equity, in our work to improve medication safety, adherence and appropriate use.

Our commitment is on display next Wednesday, May 12, in our Annual Meeting general session on “Equity in Medication Use Quality.” We will hear directly from Deen Allen, an African American man and multiple sclerosis patient on the challenges he faced to receiving appropriate diagnosis and medication therapies.

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Participate in PQA’s Specialty Pharmacy Turnaround Time Study

PQA is investigating the barriers and facilitators of prescription turnaround time in the specialty pharmacy setting.

It’s an important issue because prompt treatment initiation is essential for optimal management of complex conditions. Specialty pharmacy prescription turnaround time commonly refers to the time between a specialty pharmacy receiving a new prescription and that prescription being ready for pick-up or scheduled for delivery. Having a prescription ready for pick-up or scheduled for delivery is a key element to treatment initiation, and recent studies have demonstrated a link between rapid treatment initiation and improved outcomes in some patient populations, such as in persons living with HIV.

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Education Advisory Council Ensures PQA’s Programs are Timely and Relevant

PQA’s education programs are designed to expand knowledge and develop medication use quality skills. Our Medication Use Quality CE program, our Annual Meeting and the monthly Quality Forum Webinar series are just three of the ways we showcase best practices and novel approaches to improving medication safety, adherence and appropriate use.

Pharmacists and other health care professionals from across our care system – and in a wide range of settings – play important roles in medication use and medication services.

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PQA Welcomes Seven New Members

PQA is a non-profit organization with 250 diverse members across healthcare. Our members include community and specialty pharmacy organizations, pharmacists and other healthcare providers, pharmacies, health plans, pharmacy benefit managers, life sciences, technology vendors, government agencies, health information technology partners, researchers, accrediting organizations and academia.

New organizations regularly join PQA throughout the year. This blog recognizes seven organizations that have joined PQA since November:

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Join Me at the 2021 PQA Annual Meeting

It’s my pleasure to personally invite you to join us at the 2021 PQA Annual Meeting, which will take place online, May 11-13. While we are all looking forward to the time when we can meet together face-to-face, we are excited to continue to host this important meeting virtually and provide you with high-quality educational programs and events which meet your needs.

Our team is hard at work putting the final touches on the Annual Meeting program. PQA’s collaborative approach to quality makes its meetings a preferred destination for quality improvement professionals. The educational programs were informed by our members and will bring together thought leaders for critical conversations on issues which are top of mind for you.  

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PQA Publishes 2021 Measure Manual and Value Sets

PQA has published the 2021 PQA Measure Manual and Value Sets. The PQA Measure Manual includes the specifications for PQA measures for measurement year 2020. The manual provides guidelines and detailed specifications, which are needed to implement the measures accurately and appropriately.

PQA measures are use in a variety of federal, state, and regional quality programs, including the Medicare Part D Star Ratings, the Health Insurance Marketplace Quality Rating System, and the Medicaid Adult Core Set. In addition to retrospective analysis, the 2021 PQA Measure Manual and Value Sets may be used for ongoing monitoring and quality improvement in 2021.
 
PQA Value Sets, including National Drug Code (NDC) lists, are required to calculate PQA measures as specified. PQA updates the NDC lists twice annually and distributes the lists to licensees of the measures. A subscription for monthly NDC list updates is an available option for licensees to support ongoing monitoring and quality improvement initiatives.
 
Organizations must enter into a license agreement to obtain approval to use PQA measures. Learn more by reviewing the PQA Measure Use and License PolicyThere are significant licensing discounts for PQA members; and, as a benefit to PQA members, organizations may request a license for noncommercial use of the PQA Measure Manual for no fee.
For additional information about licensing or for questions about PQA measures, please visit the Measure Use and Licensing page of the PQA website.


Addressing Health Access and Social Determinants of Health

As we celebrate Black History Month, I am reminded of one experience that had a profound impact on my view of health access and the pharmacist’s role in addressing medication use quality through team-based care.

 
  Barbershop owner Eric Muhammad. Photo: Misha Gravenor (via Cedars Sinai)

In December 2016, I had an opportunity to travel to Los Angeles to spend a few days learning from barber Eric Muhammed, Dr. Ronald Victor, MD, and the healthcare team at Cedars-Sinai. Eric, Ron, several pharmacists, and their research team were working together to implement a barbershop hypertension project to address undiagnosed or sub-optimally treated hypertension in African American men. 

Participating barbers received training on how to initiate the conversation and screen for high blood pressure. If the individual had undiagnosed or sub-optimally treated hypertension, the barber would then contact the pharmacist and connect them with the patient. The pharmacist performed an assessment, such as a comprehensive medication review, and managed the individual’s hypertension. 

The prespecified primary outcome was systolic blood pressure. Secondary outcomes included diastolic pressure, rates of meeting blood-pressure goals, numbers of antihypertensive drugs, adverse drug reactions, self-rated health, and patient engagement according to a validated instrument. The results were not only statistically significant, but also applicable to practice improvement.  

You might have read about this project, but I wanted to share some observations through our lens of medication use quality. Here are a few aspects of this project that make it unique and impactful:  





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PQA CEO Micah Cost: A Message to Our Members

Micah Cost, PharmD, MS, is PQA's CEO. Today begins his third week leading the organization. This blog features the message he shared with PQA members on February 1, his first day in charge. Follow Cost and PQA on Twitter for more insights on the organization's daily work to improve medication use quality.

 

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Quality Forum Review: Pharmacist-conducted Immunization Assessment and Documentation

The PQA Quality Forum Webinar is a regular, recurring series on healthcare quality topics with a focus on medication use and medication services. It is a forum for educating and engaging with PQA members and quality-focused healthcare professionals.

PQA held an October 15, 2020, webinar on Pharmacist-conducted Immunization Assessment and Documentation.

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PQA and CPF Bring Health Care Leaders Together to Prioritize Pharmacy Quality Measures for Development

Pharmacists and their pharmacy teams bring immense value to patients, and now more than ever, are a critical part of the health care delivery system. Quality measures are important tools to monitor and drive improvement, which also can quantify the impact pharmacy services have on patients’ health.

As community pharmacies continue to innovate and offer enhanced services to patients, it is crucial that they have the tools to demonstrate their value within the larger health care system. Establishing a set of pharmacy measures that can be incorporated into value-based payment programs, which measure the value of the services provided, is a critical step to ensure the sustainability and continued spread of advanced services within community pharmacy practice.

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Reflections on 15 Years with PQA

As today marks my final day at PQA in the role of CEO, I have taken some time to reflect on the past 15 years, and the opportunity that was presented to me in 2006 to build and lead a multi-stakeholder organization, the Pharmacy Quality Alliance. We set out to build a sustainable model for advancing the safe and appropriate use of medications through the development of meaningful and actionable quality measures that all stakeholders would have an opportunity to shape through a consensus-based process.

The path to build PQA was challenging, rewarding, gratifying, and at times humbling. I recognize those who championed its formation including Dr. Mark McClellan, the former administrator of CMS, Larry Kocot, the Senior Advisor to the Administrator of CMS, and other major leaders across healthcare sectors that put their time and energy into the formative years of PQA and ensured its successful launch. The founding members, including AHIP, NCPA, NACDS, AMCP, and AHRQ were among the first entities to help shape the mission and vision of the organization and I am truly grateful for their support.

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PQA's 2021 Strategic Plan: Three Initiatives for a Unique Year

 
  See Laura Cranston's video presentation of the 2021 Strategic Plan.

PQA’s Strategic Plan for 2021 is focused on three, timely initiatives for medication use quality: the social determinants of health, innovative pathways for measure development, and immunization services.

PQA’s Strategic Plans historically have covered three-year periods. Our current plan will reach its successful conclusion at the end of 2020. As we contemplated PQA’s next plan, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, we recognized the value of creating a one-year Strategic Plan “burst” that is relevant for this unique and challenging time – and the needs of our 250 multi-stakeholder members.

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Electronic Clinical Quality Measures: Considerations for Pharmacy Measures

Anna Legreid Dopp, Senior Director of Clinical Guidelines and Quality Improvement at ASHP, spoke at PQA’s Data and Interoperability Advisory Group (DIAG) meeting on June 22. She discussed Electronic Clinical Quality Measures (eCQMs) and how we can use them to start thinking about pharmacy measures. ASHP is the organization that represents pharmacists who serve as patient care providers in acute and ambulatory settings.

This blog provides an overview of Dopp’s presentation. You can view a recording of the DIAG meeting and read more about it in a PQA blog, which outlines PQA’s work to address data infrastructure, standards and interoperability.

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Data Integration in Medication Therapy Management

Amber Baybayan, a Senior Clinical Services Associate at OutcomesMTM, spoke at PQA’s Data and Interoperability Advisory Group (DIAG) meeting on June 22. She discussed data integration in medication therapy management.

This blog provides an overview of Baybayan’s presentation. You can view a recording of the DIAG meeting and read more about it in a PQA blog, which outlines PQA’s work to address data infrastructure, standards and interoperability.

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Data Standards and Pharmacy Quality

Shelly Spiro, Executive Director at Pharmacy HIT Collaborative, spoke at PQA’s Data and Interoperability Advisory Group (DIAG) meeting on June 22. She discussed the importance of data standards for collecting and sharing information about pharmacist-provided patient care and services.

This blog provides an overview of Spirio’s presentation. You can view a recording of the DIAG meeting and read more about it in a PQA blog, which outlines PQA’s work to address data infrastructure, standards and interoperability.

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The Pharmacist eCare Plan: Improving Data Access and Workflow for High-Quality Care

Josh Howland, Vice President of Clinical Strategy at PioneerRX, provided a presentation on the Pharmacist eCare Plan (Plan) at PQA’s Data and Interoperability Advisory Group (DIAG) meeting on June 22.

This blog provides an overview of Howland’s presentation. You can view a recording of the DIAG meeting and read more about it in a PQA blog, which outlines PQA’s work to address data infrastructure, standards and interoperability. 

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