Quality Indicators, Spring/Summer 2020

Quality Indicators Update

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The College is continuing its work on quality indicators for community pharmacy, a tool that supports improvement in pharmacy by providing registrants, health-system stakeholders and the public with a clearer picture of the impact of pharmacy care on patient experience and health outcomes.

Since the launch of the first set of quality indicators for community pharmacy in Canada, the College has been working internally and 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 the College will continue to ensure that stakeholders are engaged throughout the process.


    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

In the fall of 2019, the College engaged a technical working group of health system, pharmacy and data experts to develop the technical specifications for these three indicators. The working group successfully finalized the indicator definitions, technical specifications and refined the indicator wording to ensure clarity.

The College has been working with the Ministry of Health and other key stakeholders to obtain the data as outlined in the technical specifications, which will be ready to report publicly in the fall. These indicator data will be available on the College’s website in the form of an interactive tool to allow stakeholders to better view and use the data.

By sharing these indicators, the College is continuing its work to help drive improvement in community pharmacy and the impacts these improvements can have on health outcomes, patient experience and patient safety.


    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.

The Patient/Caregiver-Reported Experience Measures were developed for community pharmacy in 2019 using a rigorous process led by an expert panel that incorporated feedback from more than 100 patients, 20 corporate executive leaders and 100 frontline pharmacy professionals. To confirm these indicators measure areas of pharmacy care that are important and relevant to patients and caregivers, they will be validated before a plan for data collection is developed.

This year, work will progress to validate these indicators with a broad base of patients and caregivers. Once the indicators have been validated, the College will undergo user testing and work alongside experts in collecting information from patients and those who own, operate and practice within community pharmacy to develop a data collection plan.


Measuring the experience of pharmacy professionals is an important part of the Quality Indicators for Pharmacy initiative, and developing provider experience measures requires broad engagement with registrants. The start of this process was postponed from the spring to later in 2020 in recognition of the pressures experienced in community pharmacy due to the COVID-19 pandemic response. At this time, the plan is to launch a working group in the fall.

As we move forward with developing these indicators, the College will continue to be mindful of the pressures community pharmacy professionals are experiencing. The involvement of frontline pharmacy professionals throughout this process is crucial to developing meaningful quality indicators. The working group will be comprised primarily of registrants and will endeavor to provide opportunities for all pharmacy professionals to be involved while balancing the ongoing impacts of the pandemic.

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