Medication errors, adverse drug reactions, and non-adherence all pose significant threats to patient well-being. So, quality improvement initiatives (QI) represent a strategic and necessary commitment to advancing the safety of healthcare services.
Pharmacies should set in motion quality initiatives for several compelling reasons, each aimed at enhancing patient care, operational efficiency, regulatory compliance, and financial performance. Moreover, a robust quality improvement plan can help boost your pharmacy’s growth and increase patient satisfaction.
Looking to set some quality improvement initiatives in motion this year? Then you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll outline a range of quality of care improvement strategies you can employ at your pharmacy.
9 Quality Improvement Initiatives in Pharmacies
Quality improvement initiatives focus on reducing costs, minimizing risk, and improving patient outcomes through streamlining processes, implementing advanced technologies, and committing to error prevention.
Of course, the specific QI methodologies you use for improving quality of care won’t necessarily be something your patients can see – or are even aware of. More often than not, quality improvement initiatives are background functions. Let’s take a detailed look at our list of QI initiatives you can employ this year.
Digital Integration and Telepharmacy
Digital telepharmacy technologies streamline patient communication and improve quality assurance.
For pharmacists, manual duties related to getting in touch with patients can be time-intensive. Even when payers provide patient information, things like verifying details, getting in touch, and scheduling appointments can waste valuable time. Texting patients requires additional encryption technologies to ensure data privacy and security.
However, platforms like DocStation exist to relieve pharmacies of tedious manual tasks with solutions like HIPAA-compliant two-way messaging to facilitate secure communication. HIPAA-compliant messaging is an excellent engagement strategy in providing continuous care, meaning patients are more likely to:
- Attend their scheduled appointments.
- Adhere to long-term care plans.
- Be more proactive with unassociated preventative care measures.
The result? Fewer hospital readmissions, reduced occurrence of health complications, increased prescription refills, and higher customer satisfaction scores.
Medication Therapy Management
Medication therapy management (MTM) is essential in addressing issues related to polypharmacy, adverse drug events, and medication misuse and adherence. It encompasses a wide range of services designed to optimize therapeutic outcomes for patients, including medication reviews, pharmacotherapy consults, anticoagulation management, immunizations, health and wellness programs, and medication reconciliation.
MTM is particularly valuable for patients with chronic conditions, multiple medications, or complex health needs. MTM is now a critical component of integrated patient care and an ongoing process involving continuous reviews, adherence assessments, counseling, and follow-up.
If you’re using paper based records and pharmacy records to track patient medications, the likelihood of human error is much higher than if you’re using digital records. DocStation was built by unhappy pharmacists who knew how to improve pharmacy workflow. Our dedicated pharmacy software runs MTM and value-based care programs simultaneously, incorporating:
- State-of-the-art electronic health records (EHRs).
- Inbuilt scheduling tools.
- Centralized payer-sponsored MTM and billing.
The benefits are obvious. Better patient outcomes and a significantly reduced administrative and cost burden associated with running clinical programs across multiple vendors.
Pharmacy Quality Metrics
Access to on-demand clinical intelligence helps pharmacies improve business performance and clinical outcomes.
Reliable data serves as an objective means to measure, evaluate, and elevate the quality of pharmacy services. You can continuously monitor and enhance performance by focusing on medication adherence, safety, and patient satisfaction.
Advanced pharmacy data analytics allows you to measure what matters most. A few examples of quality improvement projects related to improved data monitoring include:
- Tracking medication adherence.
- Receiving targeted intervention data.
- Syncing immunization data with state registries.
- Tapping into centralized HIE metrics.
The bottom line? No more clunky portals or time wasted navigating multiple systems — just one streamlined data analytics system packed with patient and operational insights.
As a cornerstone of patient-centered care, personalization is pivotal to quality improvement in pharmacy operations.
Most pharmacies proactively consider potential drug interactions, dosage considerations, and alternative formulations. However, pharmacists who go the extra mile to understand each patient’s medical history, lifestyle, and individual preferences find it easier to successfully tailor the best regimens.
A pharmacy on DocStation provides a great example of this.
The pharmacy shared a story about a patient with high blood pressure experiencing symptoms of fatigue. The team set this patient up on a remote monitoring device that tracks blood pressure readings at home.
As it turns out, the patient had recently retired and the day-to-day stress level plummeted and so did their blood pressure readings. Their medication dosage required a change.
The pharmacists identified the issue through remote monitoring and intervened, to solve a problem for their patient, improve their health and overall quality of life.
That’s practicing at the top of your license.
Leveraging technology can help optimize patient safety by:
- Customizing generic treatment plans.
- Simplifying patient routines by aligning prescription refills.
- Supporting caregivers.
The primary advantages? Strengthening patient-pharmacist partnerships helps both parties in the form of bottom-line benefits and optimized treatment outcomes.
Innovative Billing Automation
Streamlining billing and reimbursement processes is almost guaranteed to help pharmacies unlock new financial opportunities while delivering exceptional care.
Incorporating customizable billing software and automated billing into your quality improvement plan helps make light work of several critical tasks, including claims processing, adjudication and authorization, co-pay assistance, reporting and reconciliation, and ERA integration.
DocStation’s pharmacy billing solutions utilize intelligent algorithms to quickly extract information from prescription records and insurance data, allowing you to:
- Identify opportunities and trigger workflows to bill for services.
- Cross-reference insurance coverage details and claims history.
- Flag potential coding errors and discrepancies.
The beauty of it is that you will get more patient time while waving goodbye to complex billing codes, manual entry errors, authorization issues, adjudication delays, etc.
Continuing Education for Pharmacists
Investing in continuing education for pharmacists is the bedrock of a constantly evolving pharmacy practice.
Pharmacists are expected to be at the forefront of knowledge in an industry where advancements are the norm. So, committing to continuing education isn’t just about professional growth. It’s a commitment to providing patients with the most advanced information and care programs.
Continuing Education programs around quality improvement initiatives can be based on any aspect of pharmacy operations or caregiving, including:
- Technology use.
- Treatment modalities.
- Patient communication.
- Error prevention.
Continuous education ensures pharmacists stay abreast of the latest developments, enabling your practice to deliver cutting-edge, evidence-based care.
Collaborative Value-Based Care
Adopting quality initiatives with a holistic approach amplifies your impact on patient health and elevates the overall standard of healthcare delivery.
Historically, the multidisciplinary nature of care teams across the healthcare sector has created silos and delays that slow down processes, frustrate patients, and generate a heap of admin and legwork for pharmacy teams.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Value-based care software enables pharmacists to
- Share data with other healthcare providers.
- Track provider productivity.
- Run clinical programs at scale.
- Measure patient outcomes.
- Compare performance against pharmacy peers.
By actively collaborating and interacting with other healthcare professionals efficiently, pharmacists can enhance individual patient outcomes by combining the expertise of a diverse healthcare team.
Patient Education and Counseling
Increasing patient understanding and trust encourages higher-level communication across the healthcare provider spectrum, resulting in improved outcomes.
Did you know that patients are 67% more compliant when they receive educational materials about their diagnoses, medications, and treatments? You can share resources to bolster knowledge and understanding in various ways, including leaflets, fact sheets, apps, online education portals, video tutorials, in-person consultations, workshops, and support groups. As for the specifics of the information you provide, that depends on your target market. However, here are a few examples that show the value of shared information:
- Diabetes self-management.
- Blood glucose monitoring.
- Nutrition and meal planning.
- Foot Care.
The long and short of it: Educated patients facilitate more straightforward prescription and billing cycles while ensuring more active outcome involvement through shared decision-making about tests, medications, and treatments.
A Quality Improvement Project Example
As you can see, examples of quality improvement projects in a pharmacy setting are diverse and address a multitude of challenges and opportunities. Here’s a noteworthy real-life example to help highlight the potential benefits.
Quality Improvement Project for Workflow Efficiency
Despite administering vaccines for years, outpatient encounters associated with vaccine administration weren’t getting billed to the medical benefit for a well-loved Texas pharmacy.
By adopting DocStation’s billing and medical claims software, the pharmacy team uncovered opportunities to back-bill claims for up to 12 months! Plus, they discovered a new-found ability to identify new, real-time opportunities for billable events while improving quality of care.
The objective was to improve the efficiency of the pharmacy’s workflow but they also drove revenue by implementing a new solution.
DocStation worked with the pharmacy to implement a medical billing solution that automatically identified vaccine encounters & queued up claims for submission to the medical benefit.
Within the first month, this strategy generated over $19,000 in back-billing, with over $150,000 still making its way through the revenue cycle and ongoing additional monthly revenue generation estimated to be around $10,000.
Get Started with DocStation Today
Ready to kickstart your pharmacy’s quality improvement initiatives and power up your practice in 2024? DocStation’s intuitive suite of pharmacy management solutions is an excellent investment to get the ball rolling.
Our dedicated cloud-based platform for pharmacists and pharmaceutical companies allows users to effortlessly collaborate with other healthcare providers across a wide range of functions to streamline operations to minimize the total cost of care while providing excellent-quality care in a world where patient experience is often an afterthought. Specific functions include the enhanced ability to:
- Define performance measures.
- Manage provider networks.
- Leverage machine learning to optimize patient care.
- Submit and track claims.
- Track outcomes.
- Integrate with your EHR.
- Measure ROI.
Ready to get started? Request your free demo today and unleash the power of a partnership with DocStation.