April 2015, Vol 3, No 4 - Letter from the Editor
Frederique H. Evans, MBS

Similar to the Star Rating system by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a new quality measure has been introduced for retail clinics and other healthcare professionals.

In a recent statement, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) announced the launch of a new evaluation program, Patient-Centered Connected Care Recognition. The program was created in response to the growing number of choices available to consumers selecting care beyond the traditional primary care physician, including retail clinics, urgent care centers, and onsite employee health and school-based clinics.

The new program is said to align itself with other models that recognize the importance of value in the healthcare system, such as the patient-centered medical home model of care. In that model, care is centrally coordinated and tracked by one primary care provider; it has become the standard by which primary care can achieve better patient care and lower costs.

To receive an NCQA seal, eligible sites need to connect and share information with primary providers, as well as direct patients to appropriate providers when necessary. In addition, sites should use evidence-based decisions to support care delivery, collaborate with patients to make decisions, and deliver culturally and linguistically appropriate services. Sites should also use electronic systems to collect data and execute tasks, as well as systematically monitor performance and carry out activities to improve clinical outcomes and patient experiences.

Quality measures are an impor­tant part of growing a business and achieving professional success. We are moving forward, seeking to provide continuity of care for patients and improve outcomes using value-based, patient-centered, evidence-based healthcare. In this issue of Inside Patient Care: Pharmacy & Clinics, we had the opportunity to speak with Michael Feehan, PhD, and Mark A. Munger, PharmD, FCCP, from the University of Utah, about the importance of cutting-edge research, and how it shapes the design of primary care services in the retail pharmacy setting (see “Questions Answered: Cutting-Edge Research Shapes the Design of Primary Care Services in the Retail Pharmacy Setting”). “This is an exciting time to explore changes in healthcare delivery models, especially with increased consumer choice, easily accessible internet-based information to inform those choices, and retail pharmacies and clinics redefining themselves as healthcare providers,” according to Dr Munger. Through their research, they hope to stimulate evidence-based interventions among pharmacies and clinics in partnership with local healthcare systems, and assess the impact on public health.

As a forum for the entire healthcare team working together as one to provide optimal access to care, implement best practices, and navigate the healthcare system, this issue of Inside Patient Care: Pharmacy & Clinics provides you with the resources you need to screen, diagnose, and treat patients; answer questions on prevention and wellness; manage chronic conditions; and attract, retain, and engage patients, shoppers, and customers.

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Last modified: May 15, 2015
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