URAC-Accredited Specialty Pharmacies Demonstrate Improved Measures for the 2018 Reporting Year

| Marybeth Farquhar, PhD, MSN, RN
Pharmacist holding medicine box and capsule pack

A total of 131 URAC-accredited specialty pharmacy organizations submitted their 2017 measurement year data to URAC for the 2018 reporting year, which is a significant increase in the number of reporting organizations from the prior year. There was a seven percent increase in the number of organizations that elected to report the optional exploratory measures in 2018 compared to the 2017 reporting year.

Overall, URAC-accredited Specialty Pharmacy organizations were able to meet the high standards required for accreditation. Measure MP2012-08 (Turnaround Time for Prescriptions), a three-part measure that assesses the speed in which an organization fills prescriptions, shows a reduction in the aggregate rate for Part A and a reduction in the mean for all three parts of this measure when compared to the 2017 reporting year. Similar trends were noted with other mandatory measures.

One organization, Banks Apothecary (Trevose, Pa.), showed its commitment to quality by going above and beyond URAC’s measurement requirements. Banks Apothecary wanted to showcase their commitment to a high level of quality as well as to ensure their readiness to participate in URAC’s measurement process. They contracted with an approved data validator early in the process and reported measures during their first year of accreditation.  We applaud Banks Apothecary for their efforts and wish them continued success in their quality improvement efforts.

URAC has strict criteria to ensure that the measures included in its programs are scientifically acceptable to the industry and are relevant to stakeholders. With guidance from the Measures Advisory & Research Group (MARG), URAC carefully selects measures for each program aimed at encouraging quality improvement, improving the quality of health care, and monitoring processes and outcomes related to how care is delivered. URAC-accredited specialty pharmacy organizations were required to report data on four (4) mandatory measures, with the option to report data on four (4) additional measures.

Measure reporting for Specialty Pharmacies aligns with Phase 2 of URAC’s incremental process to eventually publicly report organizational performance. In this Phase, Pharmacy Quality Management (PQM) Programs such as the Specialty Pharmacy accreditation, require an external data validation by an approved data validator prior to submission to URAC.  

The external validators are responsible for review of data collection, source code evaluation and monitoring processes that extract data from various systems within the organization as required to satisfy measure specifications.

The validation program encompasses multiple components, including review of the pharmacy organization’s Information Systems Capability Assessment (ISCA) form, submitted rates, mappings, sampling, auxiliary requests (as needed), and a site visit. The future for this program is to have the validated mandatory measures included in unblinded public reporting on the URAC website, which will occur in Phase 3.

Read about the URAC Measures Process here.

Read about Measures Reporting here.

image of Marybeth Farquhar

Marybeth Farquhar, PhD, MSN, RN, Vice President, Quality, Research, and Measurement.

Marybeth Farquhar, vice president of quality, research, & measurement, is responsible for conceptualizing and implementing URAC’s strategy for measurement and research. Farquhar has more than 30 years of experience in the field of nursing and healthcare administration, research, and quality measurement. Prior to her tenure at URAC, Farquhar was vice president of performance measurement at the National Quality Forum and was responsible for strategic oversight of the consensus development process. Prior to NQF, she led key activities of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality performance measure initiatives and worked with the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) team on several projects, including Hospital CAHPS.

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