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A majority of older adults in the United States (US) use prescription medications. Comprehensive population-level approaches to examine medication safety, effectiveness, and costs among older adults are needed.
The objectives of this study were to develop a framework of quality measures spanning the domains of safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of prescription medication use among older adults, and to apply those measures using pharmacy claims data.
We performed a retrospective study among adults age 65 years and older of a US East Coast state who filled at least one prescription from a particular pharmacy chain during 2016 (N = 99,056). Firstly, we performed an environmental scan to identify quality measures and potentially relevant measures addressing prescription medication use. These measures were reviewed and rated by local geriatric pharmacotherapy experts. After evaluating feasibility, evidence, and relevance, a total of 19 measures representing the domains of safety (n = 7), effectiveness (n = 7), and efficiency (n = 5) were identified. These measures were then applied to an older adult population using prescription data for the year 2016 provided by a national pharmacy chain. All measures were configured such that a score of 100% corresponded to optimal performance.
For the domain of safety, 12.8% of patients received a benzodiazepine chronically, 23.6% received central nervous system depressants, 16.7% received fluoroquinolones as first-line antibiotic therapy, and 21.9% of those who were prescribed opioids received them in excessive quantities. For the domain of effectiveness, one-fourth of the diabetes patients did not receive statins and angiotensin-acting medications, while 18.0% were not adherent to oral anticoagulant medications and 54% were not adherent to respiratory inhalers. For the domain of efficiency, 12.0% of the patients received prescriptions from five or more unique prescribers. Overall, 85.7%, 76.1%, and 87.9% of the older adults showed safe, effective, and efficient prescription medication use, respectively.
A novel approach to comprehensively examine the quality of medication use among older adults using prescription claims data is provided in our study. A considerable proportion of the older adults in our study received safe, effective, and efficient prescription medications. However, within each domain, several opportunities for improving the alignment of prescription medication use with current recommendations were identified.
Key Points A novel approach/measurement framework to comprehensively assess safe, effective, and efficient prescription medication use among older adults using pharmacy claims data is presented. Overall, 14%, 24%, and 12% of older adults did not show safe, effective, and efficient prescription medication use, respectively. Many opportunities for quality improvement within the domains of safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of prescription medication use among older adults were identified.
Vyas, A., Patry, E., Owens, N. et al. Development and Application of a Measurement Framework to Evaluate Safe, Effective and Efficient Medication Use Among Older Adults. Drugs - Real World Outcomes 6, 173–181 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40801-019-00162-x
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