Diverse Voices in Quality: Binal Patel

Diverse Voices in Quality is a PQA blog series that showcases the successful career paths and experiences of medication use quality professionals from diverse groups at PQA member organizations. A part of PQA’s Diverse Quality Leaders Program, this series celebrates the achievements of our members who reflect our nation’s diversity and provides everyone with insights and inspiration for becoming a leader in quality.

The next blog in this Q&A series features Binal Patel, MPharm, BCGP, Director of Clinical Initiatives & Client Liaison at PerformRx. Since joining the company in 2013, she has served in various other clinical roles. Patel serves on the 2024 PQA Measure Update Panel and served on the 2020 Pharmacy Measure Concept Advisory Group.

Tell us about your work and role at PerformRx.

I serve as the Director of Clinical Initiatives & Client Liaison at PerformRx. My current role is a culmination of my journey in pharmacy to date, focused on improving patient care. I have the privilege of collaborating with multiple stakeholders to develop pharmacy-led clinical programs with the patient at the core of it. I am an advocate for health equity and strive to drive it forward, specifically from a pharmacy perspective.

Tell us about your background and how you became involved in medication use quality.

During pharmacy school I had decided that I wanted to practice in direct patient care and have had the opportunity to do that in multiple practice settings in various places around the world. A core function of pharmacists is to ensure and promote the safe and appropriate use of medications to achieve the best possible health outcome for the patient. So indirectly, I have been involved in medication use quality from the beginning of my career!

I learned about PQA when I first joined PerformRx. And that introduction led me down a more ‘formal’ path in medication use quality.

What opportunities through PQA have helped you grow professionally or strengthen your approach to quality?

Through my engagement with PQA, I have been provided multiple opportunities to grow professionally and strengthen my approach to quality. When I first joined PerformRx, I had the privilege of being introduced to the work that PQA was engaged in and gained a deeper understanding of how it directly impacted my daily work as a front-line MTM pharmacist.

One of the first PQA workgroups that I participated in was tasked with creating a quality measure for the appropriate use of statins in patients with diabetes. Through that process, I was able to see the full measure development process, which was an incredible experience. Since then, I have participated in other workgroups that have provided similar opportunities and enabled me to enhance my knowledge. At present I serve on the measure update panel which is charged with ensuring that current measures are aligned with clinical guidelines and are both feasible and meaningful. Through PQA’s Annual Meetings and Leadership Summits, I have been able to gain valuable insights and learnings about quality, allowing me to gain a deeper understanding of quality measures and, in particular, pharmacy’s role in it. My engagement with PQA has also provided opportunities to expand my network within the pharmacy quality space.

What drives you to be successful?

Success may mean different things for all of us. For me it is about making a difference in the world we live in. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to serve some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Seeing the barriers that these individuals face on daily basis and the privileges that I have, drives me to continue to do more. Improving access to care and providing quality care for this population, to improve health outcomes and quality of life, is personally important to me.

What advice do you have for individuals who want to be involved in quality measurement and quality improvement?

Quality has always been a part of pharmacy. As pharmacists, even if we are not directly involved in ‘quality measure and quality improvement,’ through our daily practice, irrespective of practice setting, we engage in driving quality. We need to use the knowledge we have as a starting point and build on it, which is how my journey in this space started! I would encourage pharmacists interested in quality to engage and network with other individuals who may already working in this field both inside and outside their organization. It is also important to learn about quality measurement organizations and understand the role that pharmacy can play.

Who have been your role models and mentors professionally?

Over the years, I have had many role models and mentors, both personally and professionally, from whom I have learnt. Over that last 2-3 years, I have had the privilege of getting to know some amazing women in pharmacy that have inspired me to do more!

Recognizing that our nation’s health care leadership has not reflected our nation’s diversity, where should today’s early career professionals turn for advice, support, and inspiration?

I do believe we are seeing a shift in this. When I look around, I do see diversity in leadership, and I think it will continue to increase.

I would encourage early professionals to engage and network with other individuals. Not only will you learn from them, but they will learn from you, too. I also recommend joining their organizations’ various associate resource groups for support and inspiration.

Most importantly, we must remember that we are all people and relationships matter, especially in this new remote world, and we need to invest in them.

How can the health care industry better support individuals from diverse backgrounds in their careers? 

Our industry is investing in DEI programs, which is great to see. But to be successful, these programs must be meaningful and have an impact. All individuals, at all levels, in the organization must be committed to the success of these programs. By doing this not only are we supporting individuals from diverse backgrounds in their careers, but we are also then able to provide better care for the patients we serve through firsthand experiences of our diverse team members.

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