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  • Author: Gregg Shepard x
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Stacey W. MucCullough, David Blaisdell, Jonathan K. Kish, Pat Farmer, JaLyna Laney, Tom Valuck, Natalie Dickson, Johnetta Blakely, Dianna Shipley, Jesus Berdeja, Gregg Shepard, Bertrand M. Anz III, Carolyn Kelsey, Jack Taylor, Chadi Nabhan, Jeffrey F. Patton and Annette Powers

Background: There is 1 multiple myeloma (MM) quality metric available (treatment with bisphosphonates, developed by the American Society of Hematology) to evaluate the quality of cancer care delivered to improve patient experience and outcomes. As many community practices integrate specialty pharmacy (SP) services into their practice, patient education, treatment adherence, and visit scheduling coordination are becoming increasingly complex, particularly for treatments with Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) programs. We sought to understand the fundamental challenges facing a multisite community oncology practice undergoing SP centralization to identify potential quality gaps for patients with MM. Methods: Structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with physicians treating the highest volume of MM patients across 5 different urban and rural sites of a single multisite community practice. The interviews covered 6 domains: access to care or clinical advice/communication (ACC/AC); care coordination (CC); disease management for MM (DMMM); patient education (PE); medication management (MedMgmt); and data and quality improvement (DQI). Results: Five providers treating 304 MM patients from January 2016 through April 2018 identified several key issues related to the interaction between the SP and clinical sites: ACC/AC, coordination of efforts to ensure patient affordability of both oral/intravenous components; CC, centralize pharmacy workflow processes (specifically REMS enrollment) to ensure timely receipt of medication (high priority); DMMM/PE, inconsistent patient education regarding the role of the centralized pharmacy in the REMS programs, side-effect management, and intent of therapy; MedMgmt, limited concern/understanding of the impact of oral therapy adherence; DQI, no set standards for MM-specific quality measures for benchmarking performance between SP and practices. Conclusions: This qualitative survey identified several areas for improving MM-related quality of care in terms of the relationship between a centralized SP and satellite offices. To address these themes, the practice further integrated licensed practical nurses into the SP. Additionally, 2 quality improvement measurement opportunities were proposed: (1) measuring adherence using pharmacy refill data and (2) overall treatment delay (number of days from prescribing to pick-up/ship to patient).