Quality Indicators for Pharmacy

To support its mandate to serve and protect the public, the College is responsible for encouraging continuous quality improvement within the profession of pharmacy. With better data and information, both pharmacy professionals and the College can make evidence-informed decisions to improve the quality of pharmacy care in Ontario.

In order to better understand the impact of pharmacy care on patient outcomes, the College, in partnership with Health Quality Ontario (HQO), have established the first set of quality indicators for community pharmacy in Canada. These indicators, which will be publicly reported, will provide the public with a clearer picture of the overall quality of pharmacy care in Ontario and support quality improvement efforts by pharmacy professionals and the College.

Quality indicators already exist in other areas of the health system, such as long-term care and primary care, and a great deal of work has already been done to establish indicators in hospital pharmacy. However, it is relatively new territory for community pharmacy in Ontario, which is why it is the focus of this current indicators work.

The indicators were developed by an expert panel that included patients, practicing pharmacists, academics and other health system stakeholders, and launched by the College and HQO at a Symposium on Quality Indicators for Pharmacy in June 2019.

Appropriateness of dispensed medications, medication-related hospital visits and transitions of care
  1. Percentage of patients who were newly dispensed an opioid prescription greater than 50 mg morphine equivalents per day
  2. Hospital visits for opioid poisonings among patients that are actively treated with an opioid prescription
  3. Percentage of eligible people who have had a medication review within 7 days of discharge home from hospital
Patient/Caregiver-Reported Experience
  1. My pharmacist helped me understand why I am taking each of my medications.
  2. My pharmacist made sure I understood how to take my medication properly.
  3. My pharmacist made sure I understood what results I might expect from my medication, including any side effects or drug/food interactions that may occur.
  4. My pharmacist helped me understand how to know if my medication is working
Provider Experience The Expert Panel recommended this as an area for further review and refinement before reporting the provider experience and engagement indicators publicly. This work is beginning in Fall 2020.

An Expert Panel Report on Quality Indicators for Pharmacy has been developed to reflect the work of the panel and describe the indicators. In addition, the College has developed a Quality Indicators for Pharmacy leaflet that provides a short summary of the indicators as well as their importance and relevance to pharmacy.

The expert panel was formed following a Quality Roundtable co-hosted by the College and HQO in 2018 to develop the guiding principles for establishing a set of quality indicators for pharmacy.

Next Steps

Since the launch of the first set of quality indicators for community pharmacy in Canada, the College has been engaging various stakeholders as part of the second phase of indicator development. This includes preparing for public reporting of the appropriateness of dispensed medications, medication-related hospital visits and transitions of care measurement areas; data collection on the patient/caregiver-reported experience measures; and, further quality indicator development on provider experience measures. Timelines and sequencing of stakeholder engagement on the quality indicators have been affected by COVID-19, however adjustments have been made and will continue to be made to ensure that stakeholder engagement continues in a responsible and impactful manner.