Clinical Manager JP Lopez has now been one of the team leaders in securing accreditation for Pharmacy Advantage twice. The second time around took him about half of the effort as the first instance. More on that later.
Overview of requirements
“First and foremost,” JP explains, “accreditation auditors look at your patient management program — everything from your shipping and dispensing systems to your procedures for ensuring patient adherence. They want to see your patient follow-up records. They review the data you’ve collected on the incidence of adverse effects — even on drug efficacy.
“We were first accredited in 2013, and that process was, to say the least, a chore. We’d developed our own patient-management platform, and it was significantly more efficient than the traditional paper-based system most pharmacies use. But the auditors had to sift through the multiple Access and Excel databases we’d created to examine our records.
“Before they could even review those reports, we had to invest a significant amount of time preparing them for evaluation — producing documentation verifying our compliance process. And while the auditors were here, they needed a lot of explanation; primarily about what our databases indicated, because they weren’t particularly self-explanatory.
“Needless to say, accreditation auditors are extremely strict. And they should be. Otherwise, what’s the value of being accredited?”
An easier process from the outset
“The way you prepare for accreditation sets the tone not only for the process, but also for establishing relationships with your auditors. It goes without saying, the review goes a lot smoother when you make it easier for the auditors to do their jobs — because it’s a lot of work for them as well.
“Our second accreditation, in 2016, was so much easier, on every level. The entire process took us about half the time, and the working relationship was so much more pleasant — from the first data transmission we sent them in advance.” Why? “Because we had virtually everything they needed at our fingertips — and when they saw that, it just put them in a better state of mind.”
Just how good was that state of mind? “Let’s put it this way: Before her scheduled visit, our auditor called me and asked if I’d mind if she brought-along a new auditor they were training — so they could see how a ‘smooth audit’ goes.”
What made the difference?
“The second time around, of course, Pharmacy Advantage was using Dromos PTM. When the auditors asked for certain documents that weren’t immediately accessible in the system, we built new forms to make them available — and with Dromos’s form builder module, we did that at the Admin level, without having to involve our programmers or I.T. department. For instance, they asked for information about patient drug allergies — so we synched our system to McKesson’s.
“We’d already spent years building the Dromos system around the requirements placed on accredited specialty pharmacies. If anything, the auditors’ additional requests helped us improve Pharmacy Advantage’s best practices.
Benefits beyond the bottom line
“Of course, accreditation is invaluable for a pharmacy looking to expand distribution contracts — and it’s had a tremendous impact on the revenues Pharmacy Advantage generates from specialty medications we weren’t previously approved to distribute. But what makes this organization such an honor to be part-of is, we truly are driven by a mission to help more patients achieve better outcomes, and better lives. It’s why we created Dromos in the first place, and it’s ultimately why I love coming into work every day.”