PQA-Convened Experts and Patients Prioritize Opportunities to Improve Cancer Care Quality

A Health Plan Measure to Assess Adherence or Persistence to Oral Anticancer Medications Is Top Priority

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Alexandria, Va. (August 29, 2023) – The Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) convened 23 national experts and patients to prioritize opportunities to improve the quality of care for individuals using oral anticancer medications (OAM). The group’s number one measurement priority is a health plan performance measure to assess the degree to which patients take OAMs as prescribed.

“The complexity of cancer treatment presents unique challenges to the development of feasible quality measures,” PQA Chief Executive Officer Micah Cost, PharmD, MS, CAE, said. “Given that adherence and persistence are so important for treatment effectiveness, identifying and vetting measure concepts that can be successfully developed and effectively used in real-world settings will support high-quality care that improves outcomes.”

PQA convened the group as part of its Quality Innovation and Research Initiative for Oncology. Work on the initiative began in 2022 to identify research and measurement opportunities aimed at assessing the quality of OAM use. PQA invited patients with lived experience, OAM experts, and stakeholders from pharmacies, health plans, health care providers, biopharmaceutical companies, associations and academia to participate in three workshops between late 2022 and early 2023.

PQA will begin research in 2024 to advance the health plan measure concept for adherence or persistence to OAMs. The work is led by the PQA Quality Innovation and Research Center, a strategic initiative to advance progress in medication use quality and focus on clinical outcomes and provider contributions to care.

“The uniqueness of OAMs, including complex treatment regimens, variable dosing schedules, and temporary and intentional discontinuation of therapy, present distinct challenges to accurately defining and measuring adherence and persistence,” PQA Vice President of Quality Innovation Lynn Pezzullo, RPh, CPEHR, CPHQ, said. “PQA will use our research and measurement expertise to explore OAM adherence or persistence methodologies to inform potential development of a health plan measure.”

The prioritization process was informed by an expansive environmental scan conducted by PQA to identify OAM quality gaps and existing measures relevant to OAM care. The scan identified eight quality issues related to OAM use, and a lack of relevant OAM-related quality measures for health plan and pharmacy performance assessment.

A report on the project released today describes the first phase of PQA’s oncology quality initiative, including the environmental scan, key takeaways from the workshops, conclusions and next steps. This work was possible in part with support from Boehringer Ingelheim, EMD Serono, Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis and Pfizer.


Download the Report: Recommendations to Improve the Quality of Oral Anticancer Medication Use: A report from the PQA Quality Innovation and Research Initiative for Oncology

Pharmacy Quality Alliance:

Contact: Rachel Cormier, Senior Manager, Communications, [email protected]


About PQA

PQA, the Pharmacy Quality Alliance, is a national quality organization dedicated to improving medication safety, adherence and appropriate use. A measure developer, researcher, educator and convener, PQA’s quality initiatives support better medication use and high-quality care. PQA was established in 2006 as a public-private partnership with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. PQA was created because prescription drug programs were a major area of health care where there was no organization or national program focused on quality improvement. Today, PQA is an independent, non-profit organization with nearly 240 diverse members across health care.

The PQA Quality Innovation and Research Center (QuIRC) is a strategic initiative to accelerate progress in medication use quality and focus on clinical outcomes and provider contributions to care. Developing accurate and responsive outcomes-focused measures requires innovative approaches to measure development and research to ensure that measures are valid and useable in real-world settings. Through pilot, demonstration and research projects and consensus-building events, QuIRC answers the difficult questions needed to develop new, complex measures and effectively implement them.