Registrar’s Reflection


Transparent data sharing informs pharmacy quality improvement

It’s often been said that you can’t fix what you don’t measure, and that applies particularly well to making quality improvements in the way pharmacy care is delivered. Without robust data, we cannot clearly identify opportunities for enhancing patient outcomes at both the pharmacy and system levels, and we certainly can’t define benchmarks.

Quality improvement helps achieve better health outcomes for patients, and it builds trust in the profession of pharmacy. And to be effective, quality improvement must be based on evidence.

That’s why capturing, validating, analyzing and sharing data with pharmacy professionals is a top priority for the College. We know that successful quality improvement initiatives are data-driven, and we want registrants to have the tools and information they need to make informed decisions about the impact on patients of the care they are providing. This is an important part of the College’s commitment to accountability and transparency, and to fulfilling our mandate of serving and protecting the public.

The key to improving patient outcomes—the crucial reason for driving quality improvement—is to ensure the data we are sharing are accurate, meaningful, and have the necessary context for registrants to make quality improvements in their own practice.

Continuous quality improvement is a core component of outcomes-focused regulation, which focuses on achieving broad objectives rather than on prescriptive rules. By consistently using data as a way to raise the bar for patient safety and better health outcomes, both the College and pharmacy professionals are enabled to make informed, evidence-based decisions that ultimately enhance trust in the quality of pharmacy care Ontarians receive.

Here at the College, we have started to shift our regulatory approach by applying a greater focus on using and analyzing data to help make evidence-informed decisions to impact more broadly on the profession and health system. I am passionate about using data to inform our work, shape quality pharmacy practice, and better inform sound regulatory decision making.

To support pharmacy professionals, the College’s approach to data sharing is to make as much relevant information as possible available to help registrants and teams focus their efforts when developing continuous quality improvement initiatives in their own practice, and to give the public confidence in their pharmacy care.

By embracing the importance of using data to improve pharmacy care, we are working together to improve the quality and safety of Ontario’s health system

That’s why we have launched initiatives such as Quality Indicators for Pharmacy and Assurance and Improvement in Medication Safety (AIMS) that are designed to help registrants assess their practice against regional and provincial data, giving them the necessary information to build continuous quality improvement plans that enhance both patient safety and health outcomes. This data is being shared in a way that helps registrants understand its significance, and where possible, includes practice insights to guide them in how to apply the data within their own pharmacy practice’s quality improvement strategies.

Quality Indicators and AIMS data are now being shared on the College website using an interactive tool that allows registrants to access de-identified aggregate information about the way pharmacy care is delivered. It is important to note that the College only has access to de-identified aggregate data to support shared learning and system-based improvements across the province. The College does not have access to information related to a specific pharmacy or pharmacy professional through this program.

Read more about accessing Quality Indicators and AIMS data in this article here.

For pharmacy professionals, regularly reviewing the data available to them is an important part of continuously examining and improving the quality of care they provide. This is a shared responsibility, and it’s one that continues to enhance confidence and trust with the patients we serve. By embracing the importance of using data to improve pharmacy care, we are working together to improve the quality and safety of Ontario’s health system.

Sincerely,
Nancy