A New Day for PQA

Today is an exciting and important day for PQA. The PQA Board of Directors completed the sale of all of PQA’s shares in Pharmacy Quality Solutions (PQS) to Innovaccer, a San Francisco, CA based healthcare technology company with a platform unifying patient data across systems and care settings. A statement  from our Board Chair, Susan Cantrell, followed the Innovaccer’s announcement at the HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition in Orlando. 

There are times in life when change and new directions are necessary for growth and transformation, and PQA and PQS have reached that point. In the spirit of PQA’s commitment to transparency, I want to share more with you about our history in creating PQS and what this sale means for our alliance. 

Creating the Catalyst for Quality Reporting between Health Plans and Pharmacies 

In 2013, at the direction of the PQA Board of Directors, PQA entered a joint venture with CE City to form PQS and launch the EQUIPPTM platform. As created, PQS was structured as a separate entity from PQA and maintained an independent governance structure, with PQA and CE City contributing the support, skills and expertise necessary to stand up PQS de novo and launch the EQUIPP platform.  

PQS and EQUIPP were created to serve as a catalyst for quality reporting between health plans and pharmacies in three key areas that were envisioned, now 11 years ago, as:  

  • World Class Reporting: The EQUIPP platform would provide pharmacy providers and health plans with quality performance information on PQA measures and measures from other measure developers. Further, the EQUIPP platform would provide routine analytics regarding performance and opportunities to improve performance.  
  • Pharmacy Organizational Change: PQS would engage with health plans to identify quality and performance improvement opportunities and engage with providers (including pharmacy providers) to support their active participation in ensuring quality medication use and performance improvement related to medication use through the EQUIPP platform. 
  • Convener for Pay-for-PerformanceBy providing these services, PQS would be optimally positioned to serve as a convener for pay-for-performance agreements between health plans and pharmacies to improve the quality of medication use.   

Reflecting on the progress and growth of PQS and EQUIPP over the past decade, they have realized tremendous success and have achieved their intended purposes. I am excited for PQS, including Todd Sega, Chief Executive Officer for PQS, and their phenomenal team, and I am equally excited for Innovaccer and their vision for integration between health plans, providers and pharmacies.

What Does this Mean for PQA? 

PQA remains steadfast in its commitment to our mission. Our members first came together in 2006 to “optimize health by advancing the quality of medication use.” That has been our singular focus over the last 18 years, and it remains true today. 

We have made tremendous progress with the development of dozens of measures to evaluate the quality of medication use. Along the way, we have enhanced quality measurement with research, education and convening activities that bring our members and stakeholders together to build consensus on medication use priorities and advance our collective efforts to improve health care outcomes and lower costs. 

From day one, we have been focused on supporting safe, effective and appropriate medication use and addressing issues that impact a person’s ability to access and use medications. 

The sale of PQS will enable PQA to strengthen its focus on our mission and chart a path towards sustainability and longevity. 

The movement towards value-based care and paying for outcomes over the volume of services continues. Demands on providers to demonstrate their contributions to care have risen, while economic pressures and consolidation continue to reshape the face of care and the organizations and professionals who serve patients.  

Despite these forces, our health care system’s data infrastructure continues to lag, especially when it comes to the availability and flow of data for pharmacy services and medication use. We’re still limited to what information we can extract from claims data. 

PQA is doing its part to overcome these limitations, so that we can push forward to the next generation of quality measures that meet the needs of payers, providers and pharmacies, address health care priorities and gaps, improve outcomes and value, and honor patient perspectives. That’s the first objective of goal one of PQA Blueprint 2025, our strategic plan. We’re making tremendous progress, but realizing this goal will take years to fully achieve.

This is challenging, time-intensive and resource-heavy work – and PQA is the leading organization doing this in medication use quality. Developing complex and outcomes-based quality measures is an enormous endeavor, and we are thankful for the contributions of our member organizations for their efforts, including support for our pilots and quality innovation projects.  

In the coming weeks, we will launch a new pilot to address adult immunization status and gaps in payer-pharmacy arrangements. Utilizing data from five distinct sources, this cutting-edge work will provide standardized evaluation of pharmacy services to improve adult immunization rates. This project is emblematic of PQA’s steadfast commitment to provide our nation with tools to determine what constitutes quality medication use. 

This work is led through the PQA Quality Innovation and Research Center (QuIRC), which is designed to address the data access, sharing, interoperability and analysis challenges that stand between us and the next generation of medication use quality outcomes measures – for both health plans and pharmacies. 

In addition to immunizations, QuIRC has launched quality innovation and research pilots and initiatives for blood pressure and A1C, oncology and medication therapy management. QuIRC is also addressing health equity and social determinants of health, including a focus on issues like medication access and pharmacy deserts.  

Through these efforts, PQA is fulfilling our mission, supporting practice advancement, educating and equipping the broader health care community to improve quality.  

The sale of PQS will enable PQA to invest resources in our mission and address our members’ top priorities with confidence in a challenging and uncertain environment. The resources from this sale will enhance our work, but they will not replace the critical support we receive from our members and partners each year. 

PQA has always been, and will remain, member-focused and consensus-based. We depend and thrive on the engagement, support and participation of our members in our work. Your voice will remain essential in informing our strategic direction; and, in 2025, we will begin a new strategic planning process that will guide PQA through 2030.  

Together with you, we will blaze new trails and cross undiscovered frontiers in the pursuit of quality medication use.

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