Magazine article Drug Topics

Pharmacy First

Magazine article Drug Topics

Pharmacy First

Article excerpt

Florida board adopts rule regulating pharmacies in the state on the basis of outcomes

The Florida pharmacy board has become the first in the country to adopt an outcomes-oriented approach to regulating pharmacies. The board plans to require the creation of quality improvement committees to tackle medication errors.

Each Florida pharmacy will be required to create a continuous quality improvement (CQI) committee as of Oct. 1, said John Taylor, executive director of the state pharmacy board. The pharmacy will be required to record any reports or allegations of misfills. The CQI committee, which will meet at least quarterly, will then analyze the errors and devise ways to prevent similar errors in the future. The committee will include pharmacists and technicians or anyone else behind the counter who might be involved in an Rx error.

"Medication errors are always a concern," said Taylor. "If there's a way for the board to approach it and prevent the next error, that's our duty to the public. Our intent is to reduce the number of medication errors by asking the pharmacy to look at what's happening in a systematic way. One component of the rule is that the records will not be available to the board or inspectors as to patient names or employee names. We're not looking to see who was involved in an error. We'll be looking to see whether it is being analyzed and addressed. We'll be looking at the system, not the individual."

Implementation of the new rule depends on whether the state legislature acts to include pharmacies in regulations covering other health-care CQI committees. The pharmacy board wants the legislature to legally shield pharmacies so that they cannot be forced to open their medication error records either in a civil suit or by the board itself. If the legislature does not act to protect pharmacies, the rule will not take effect. However, Taylor does not antiapate much opposition. "Clearly, the board wants the [CQI committee] discussions to be frank and useful," Taylor said. "It's necessary to have that protection against civil and administrative discovery, if you're going to expect pharmacists to have those discussions that lead to improvement."

Florida may be the first to take the plunge into regulating for outcomes, but CQI is a hot topic among other state pharmacy boards. …

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