Using Computer-Based Monitoring and Intervention to Prevent Harmful Combinations of Antiretroviral Drugs in the New York State AIDS Drug Assistance Program

Authors: Gonzalez, Charles J.; Rivera, Christine A.; Martin, Raymond J.; Mergian, Gwen A.; Cruz, Humberto; Agins, Bruce D.

Source: Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, Volume 38, Number 6, June 2012 , pp. 269-276(8)

Publisher: Joint Commission Resources

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Background: Despite the growing number of HIV-infected people and the acknowledged complexity of HIV therapy, there are no standard safeguards in the outpatient setting against dangerous antiretroviral (ARV) therapy combinations in the publicly financed arena.

Methods: Using quarterly pharmacy claims data from the New York State AIDS Drug Assistance Program, a three-phase approach was developed: The extent of contraindicated ARV combinations was ascertained; prescriber alerts were developed; and, finally, the reimbursement of contraindicated ARV combinations was blocked at pharmacy. ARV dosages, the number of ARV medications in a regimen, clinical adequacy of the regimen, medication claim denials, clinician adjudication, and subsequent clinician prescribing patterns were analyzed.

Results: For the 27-month study period (October 1, 2006– December 31, 2009), 112,383 ARV regimens involving 396,303 ARV medications for 25,463 unique recipients were individually analyzed. A total of 1,089 interventions occurred; denials and interventions increased per quarter from a baseline of 129 to 217 by the study's end. All contraindicated combinations referred for adjudication during the study were upheld. More than 88.3% (range, 87.1% to 89.9%) of regimens per quarter were consistent with effective ARV as promulgated by current guidelines. The targeted dissemination of ARV drug interaction safety alerts to previous prescribers of contraindicated combinations during the first year of the review curtailed the practice by 77.3%.

Conclusion: A systems-level intervention can be used on a state level to reduce ARV contraindicated medication errors in the outpatient setting through a coordinated approach of prescriber clinical education and electronic pharmacy and billing systems and provides an effective safety and quality monitoring model.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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