Magazine article Drug Topics

Medicine Shoppe Offering Report Cards for Third-Party Use

Magazine article Drug Topics

Medicine Shoppe Offering Report Cards for Third-Party Use

Article excerpt

Most kids don't like flashing their report cards around unless they have "all A's." And a major cooperative drugstore chain had better have done its homework if it invites others to grade its pharmacies on the quality of their services in fulfilling managed care pharmacy contracts.

Medicine Shoppe International Inc., St. Louis, Mo., has decided to take that risk. It is offering contracts to potential pharmacy network clients in which the chain will enable itself to be graded.

The way Gary Levine, v.p.-managed health care, at Medicine Shoppe, described it to Drug Topics, pharmacy networks need new ways to differentiate themselves. Rather than focusing on how low a reimbursement rate a network is willing to accept, a new approach is to focus on the quality of the services a network's pharmacies provide.

What Medicine Shoppe has done is figure out how to start measuring the quality of its pharmacy services, to show clients how well their pharmacy needs are being served, he said. The idea is to gather data from electronic claims processors, such as PCS Health Systems, on how well individual pharmacies are handling various cognitive services.

"It's one thing for a [pharmacy claims] administrator to send hundreds of messages to the pharmacist about conflicts. But how many times does the pharmacist, when there really is a potential conflict, intervene--either by changing the dose of the drug or not dispensing at all?" he asked. "I want [claims processors] to tell us how we're performing, so that we can work with our pharmacies to show them how they could become more profitable under these [managed care] programs."

The idea is similar to what is already being done with physicians in many managed care organizations (MCOs), he noted. Physicians are given feedback on how their own prescribing patterns compare with the norm for treating patients for various diseases.

"The same thing needs to occur with pharmacy," and it will, Levine said. "Pharmacy providers will begin to get pharmacy performance reports."

In other words, individual pharmacies can begin to receive feedback on how consistently they intervene with patients to prevent adverse drug interactions, encourage the use of generics, and encourage compliance--and report these activities.

With the reports in hand, a couple of results can follow, he said. …

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