As we close out the 2020 calendar year, everyone is working to finish some home projects, finish work at the pharmacy, while also thinking about what needs to be started on January 1st. Meeting your defined goals for the year can help to instill confidence and be a rewarding experience for your pharmacy team members. Be sure to recognize and celebrate the “wins” that you have achieved. On the other hand, it’s also important to reflect on the missed opportunities and where improvement will be needed going forward.
As December closes and January starts, it becomes imperative for the pharmacy to start planning for a strong start in the new year, especially as they consider their process for quality improvement. When I work with pharmacies, referencing the Basics of Quality Improvement from the American Academy of Family Physicians is my preferred teaching tool. This process includes six basic steps for a quality improvement process that every organization should include:
- Establish a culture of quality in your practice
- Determine and prioritize potential areas for improvement
- Collect and analyze data
- Communicate your results
- Commit to ongoing evaluation
- Spread your successes
For today, let’s focus on step 3: Collect and analyze data.
This can start with how your pharmacy staff members review some of the current outliers in your EQuIPP® dashboard. During the final few weeks of December, there will be only a small fraction of your outliers that can still be “actionable” or get back to 80% for PDC measure by the end of the year. This is due to the adherence calculation and with a limited number of days in the year. Patients could still improve but there may not be enough days to get back above 80% by December 31st.
So how does your pharmacy use this information to maximize your benefit? Consider that past performance, or your current information in EQuIPP® can tell you a lot about what to expect with some patients in the new year. If a patient was nonadherent in this 2020 year, that should be a patient that is prioritized for adherence interventions in 2021.
What steps should your pharmacy consider to maximize your patient interventions in 2021?
- Identify patients from key payer programs that were nonadherent in 2020
- What interventions did your pharmacy staff members utilize for these patients in 2020? Were these activities successful immediately? Were they successful long term?
- Be sure to review the medications and current disease state management with these patients. Are they experiencing side effects or is cost a barrier?
- Ensuring the patient’s medication regimen is optimized should be the first key step. Once that is done, be sure to have conversations with that patient about medication synchronization or adherence packaging. This type of “check-in” should be routinely provided – otherwise those tools to improve adherence are not being used to their full benefit!
- Once your pharmacy starts interventions with a patient, be sure to set a routine with that patient going forward. An intervention or service provided in January for example may be effective at that time. But if the patient’s situation changes, the effectiveness of the intervention can also be impacted. Remember that quality improvement is meant to be a continuous process – a next step should always be included with every patient intervention.
As a reminder, your pharmacy should be checking EQuIPP® at least once a month. Our team’s suggestion is to have a “quality champion” and provide tips that will help your pharmacy understand the measures, create an action plan, and optimize your performance scores!
Related to today’s article, we highly recommend the following resources from the EQuIPP® Educational Video Library, located in the Resources Tab in EQuIPP® or on YouTube:
- How Are Outliers Identified?
- Calculating Medication Adherence Based on Proportion of Days Covered
- Quick Tips on How to Improve Performance on Adherence Measures
If your pharmacy needs to confirm how to access EQuIPP®, or if you have any questions about the data for your pharmacy – contact us directly! Email email@example.com or “click” on the EQuIPP® Support Link at the bottom corner of your EQuIPP® dashboard.
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