McKesson's Hospital Pharmacy Performance Index gives the industry a new benchmark

February 1, 2009

New index ranks hospital pharmacy performance

Key Points

» The McKesson Corp. recently introduced a new survey, the McKesson Hospital Pharmacy Performance Index, that ranks hospital pharmacies and scores them on 78 practice elements, including leadership, med prep and delivery, patient-care services, medication safety, medication-use policy, financial performance, human resources management, and education.

The data from the pharmacies surveyed are used to collectively track the performance of pharmacies across the United States, said Chris Borr, FACHE, vice president of health systems marketing, McKesson U.S. Pharmaceutical.

The hospital pharmacy industry has historically lacked a clear and consistent performance benchmark, Borr said. McKesson plans to release the findings of its survey annually to help hospital pharmacies continuously gauge and improve performance.

To determine how well U.S. hospital pharmacies are performing, the index weighs each of the best practices for high-performance pharmacies by their estimated clinical and financial impact to a hospital pharmacy, as determined by literature and existing standards. The index indicates that, of the overall contributions possible under the framework, 73 percent are being realized by participating pharmacies.

"In order to improve patient safety, clinical quality, and financial performance, pharmacies need to first understand their current level of performance, how this performance compares to similar health systems, and most important, what specific steps they can take to achieve high performance," Borr said.

Ernest Anderson, director of pharmacy, Lahey Clinic Medical Center in Burlington, Mass., said Lahey Clinic took the assessment and the results helped shape needed improvements.

After learning that the tool was available on McKesson's Web site, Anderson suggested that VHA New England (VHANE), of which the clinic is a member, use the tool as a group as part of VHANE's strategic planning. Through VHANE, approximately 15 hospitals completed the assessment; then McKesson pooled the data, he said.

"They helped us develop a business plan," he said. "We scored lowest on the clinical patient-care services dimension, so decided to tackle the implementation of the NPSG [National Patient Safety Goals] on anticoagulation. We have now taken the survey twice and are using it to see how we are improving our scores."

Anderson recommends that other hospital pharmacies use the tool on an annual basis to measure progress and fulfill the Joint Commission requirement for annual assessment of pharmacy practice.

The 2008 index results were compiled from more than 250 self-assessments conducted from December 2007 to November 2008 by U.S. directors of pharmacy using the online assessment tool. Because the assessment tool is free, any hospital pharmacy leader - regardless of whether the hospital is a McKesson customer - can use the tool to assess the current performance level of his or her organization.

"Pharmacies need to first understand their current level of performance, and then target specific areas for improvement in order to achieve high performance," Borr said. "McKesson's goal in compiling this index is to assist hospital pharmacies as they seek to define and achieve even higher levels of excellence and performance. We envision this index serving as an important indicator of the state of hospital pharmacy practice each year."