Five for Friday June 28: Celebrating Success in Advancing Medication Use Quality

Patients receiving specialty medications often have complex, high-cost treatment needs, necessitating close management from care teams, including specialty pharmacies. Recognizing this, specialty pharmacy stakeholders have articulated the need for standardized turnaround time (TAT) measurement and reporting to better understand a key aspect of specialty pharmacy quality.

In 2022, we launched the PQA Specialty Pharmacy Turnaround Time Implementation Pilot to advance standardized measurement of TAT. We aimed to implement the PQA-endorsed SP-TAT-PH measure to understand the data sources used to calculate the measure, evaluate potential refinements to measure specifications, identify opportunities for improvement, and add to the collection of barriers, facilitators and promising practices for optimizing TAT. Learn more about the pilot below.

We also highlight our members' perspectives on the role of pharmacists in the use of oral oncolytics, value-based care in oncology, and social determinants of health. If you have news you'd like for us to spotlight in an upcoming Five For Friday, send us an email! 

-- Heather Gibson, MSPH, PQA Director, Performance Measurement 

Supporting Pharmacists to Ensure Appropriate Use of OAMs   

New study findings from CPS Solutions, LLChighlight the roles pharmacists can play in appropriate use of oral oncolytics, particularly when embedded in health system special pharmacy oncology clinics. Interventions by pharmacists have been associated with improved patient outcomes and cost savings. According to the investigators, the average cost savings per pharmacist intervention for oncology medications ranges from $8,100 to $11,000.

Defining Value in Oncology   
Lalan Wilfong from The US Oncology Networkshared insights on defining value in oncology and trying to understand the benefits and risks of value-based arrangements for different subgroups. "Whenever we go into a value-based care arrangement," Wilfong said, "we want to make sure that the true heart of that is improving patient care and making sure that all of the payment models, quality metrics, and everything else goes toward improving that patient’s outcome and quality of life during the time we're under that model."

Connecting Patients to SDOH Services  
To connect patients with social determinants of health (SDOH) resources, Rite Aid, in partnership with OutcomesMTM, ran two SDOH pilots. The first pilot, focused on asking SDOH questions and providing the details back to the health plans. The second, redesigned pilot, pulled in localized resources based on the answers to the SDOH questions. Pharmacists and technicians reported feeling more confident and comfortable having the conversations because they could close the gap once a need was identified. 

Piloting the PQA Standardized Specialty Pharmacy Turnaround Time Quality Measure

In 2017, in collaboration with NASP, PQA identified and prioritized specialty pharmacy measure concepts for development. A turnaround time measure concept continued through PQA’s multi-stakeholder, consensus-based development process, and the Specialty Pharmacy Turnaround Time [Pharmacy] (SP-TAT-PH) pharmacy quality measure was endorsed through a PQA membership vote in 2021. In 2022, with funding support from Pfizer, PQA launched the PQA Specialty Pharmacy Turnaround Time Implementation Pilot to advance standardized measurement of TAT.

Five organizations — across the chain, independent, integrated delivery network (IDN) and PBM-owned specialty pharmacy models — participated in the pilot, and included Walgreens, Noble Health Services, Kaiser Permanente, Vanderbilt Specialty Pharmacy, and Accredo by Evernorth. Full pilot results, including performance rates and interpretations, will be available in future publications.


Save the date for a Quality Essentials webinar on September 19, from 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET, to learn more about the PQA Specialty Pharmacy Turnaround Time [Pharmacy] quality measure and this pilot, including insights from pilot participants.


The PQA team will also present these findings at the NASP 2024 Annual Meeting & Expo in Nashville, Tenn., on October 8, at 4:30 p.m. CT, for our session titled “Piloting a Specialty Pharmacy Turnaround Time Quality Measure: Findings and Lessons Learned.”


Your Next Engagement Opportunities

Network, Learn and Collaborate with PQA

  • Join us for PQA's next Quality Forum Webinar on Thursday, July 18, 1-2 pm ET. The PQA Quality Forum Webinar is a regular, recurring series on best practices and emerging trends in medication use quality, medication services and other initiatives that can improve health care quality. Register today.

  • Save the date for the next PQA Quality Forum Webinar on August 14, 1-2 pm ET. The PQA Quality Essentials Webinar provides education on the fundamentals of quality measurement, which is important for effective measure implementation and performance, and information about where and how PQA quality measures are used. 

  • Stay up to date on everything happening at PQA! Sign up to receive updates from PQA, including announcements, webinar and event registration, and regular newsletters. Plus, connect with Micah Cost and follow Pharmacy Quality Alliance on LinkedIn for regular insights on quality medication use.

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