18 Medication Management Measures Released by National Quality Forum

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media , August 20, 2009

The National Quality Forum has endorsed 18 measures for managing over-the-counter and prescription medications. The new measures, which are among the first to be endorsed for medication management, assess prescribing and use of appropriate medications and medication adherence, reconciliation, and monitoring for a variety clinical conditions.

Nearly 90% of Medicare beneficiaries currently take prescription medications and almost half use five or more different medications. However, an estimated 40% of those patients are not taking their medications as prescribed by their healthcare providers--causing approximately 1.5 million preventable adverse drug events each year, according to NQF.

These measures are a "starting point to improve quality and lay the groundwork for additional measure development for continued improvement in medication management," according to NQF President and CEO Janet Corrigan.

The measures will add "standardization and clarity to the field of medication management" and provide "better measures for quality improvement in medication management," said Pincus Harold, who co-chaired NQF's steering committee on medication management. He is director of quality and outcomes research at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Health System.

The NQF endorsed measures are focused specifically on measuring and improving adherence and management of medication for a range of conditions where medication non-adherence has been prevalent and subsequent severe adverse outcomes have been linked to that non-adherence. These conditions include diabetes, asthma, coronary artery disease, kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and schizophrenia.

The endorsed measures for adherence measure for adherence of antipsychotics among patients with schizophrenia, and medication possession for statin therapy for patients with coronary artery disease.

Other measures focus on medication reconciliation and review by measuring the percentage of adults over age 65 who have had a medication review, or the percentage of discharged patients over 65 whose medications have been reconciled.

Individuals may request reconsideration of the recommendations, in whole or in part, by notifying NQF in writing via e mail no later than Sept. 15.

Janice Simmons is a senior editor and Washington, DC, correspondent for HealthLeaders Media Online. She can be reached at jsimmons@healthleadersmedia.com.

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