Providing high-quality, safe medical care is a primary goal at RWJBarnabas Health

As experts in medication delivery, pharmacists play an integral role in preventing and managing medication errors; however, ensuring safety in the health system is a team effort. Pharmacists need to broaden their responsibilities by taking on roles in quality and performance improvement projects. Pharmacists are well positioned to assist the healthcare system in improving quality of care as they are already established as experts in medication management processes. The RWJBarnabas Health Pharmacy Enterprise has a strong focus on Quality Improvement including initiatives such as the Medication Use Evaluation Program.

RWJBarnabas Health pharmacists continuously utilize quality improvement tools to promote appropriate medication use. A medication use evaluation (MUE) is a performance improvement method that focuses on evaluating and improving medication use processes with the goal of optimal patient outcomes. The MUE process helps to identify actual and potential medication-related problems, resolve actual medication-related problems, and prevent potential medication-related problems that could interfere with achieving optimum outcomes from medication therapy.

Specific MUE objectives include:

  • Promoting optimal medication therapy
  • Preventing medication-related problems
  • Evaluating effectiveness of medication therapy
  • Improving patient safety
  • Standardizing medication use practices
  • Promoting cost-effective therapy
  • Meeting or exceeding internal and external quality standards

Medications may be selected for MUEs for any or all of the
following reasons:

  • Medication is known or suspected to cause adverse reactions
  • Medication is known to interact with other medications
  • Medication is used in the treatment of high-risk patients
  • Medication is frequently prescribed
  • Medication has a narrow therapeutic index
  • Medication is under consideration for formulary retention, addition or deletion
  • Medication is expensive

RWJBarnabas Health pharmacists play a large role in the MUE
process. Specifically, they:

  • Develop the operational plan
  • Work collaboratively with prescribers and other health care professionals to develop criteria for specific medications and to design effective medication use processes
  • Collect, analyze, and evaluate patient-specific data to identify, resolve, and prevent medication-related problems
  • Interpret and report MUE findings and recommend changes in the medication use process
  • Provide education based on MUE findings

In 2020, the Pharmacy Enterprise continued to make progress on the following MUEs:

  • Decrease Antimicrobial Days of Therapy
  • Decrease Wholesale Acquisition Cost within 340B Program
  • Decrease the Number of Opioid Prescriptions from Emergency Departments
  • Obtain Top Three Status in Net Promoter Score for Qualitas Specialty Pharmacy
  • Maintain Infection Rate Below National Benchmark in Home Infusion