Stepping Stones: 5 Tips to Prepare for Specialty Pharmacy Accreditation

Published 10/07/2019
by Jon Pritchett, Pharm.D., RPh., Program Director at Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) and Mike Becker, Director of Quality and Accreditation at Trellis Rx

Earning Specialty Pharmacy Accreditation is a key milestone for a health system specialty pharmacy program seeking to demonstrate the value and quality of their care and services. Key industry stakeholders such as payors, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and even providers value the impartial evaluation that accreditation provides.

Once you have determined which Specialty Pharmacy Accreditations are right for your health system, preparation will be critical to ensuring your success. Preparing your operation for Specialty Pharmacy Accreditation can be an overwhelming challenge. Success requires significant resources and a team-wide effort. As you prepare to begin this process, here are some ways you can help ensure a successful audit:

  1. Build a Culture of Quality: When a health system specialty pharmacy truly invests in quality, it shows. Quality must be a foundational component of your entire operation: do not limit your efforts and conversations around quality to quarterly Quality Management Committee meetings. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), process improvement initiatives, and employee education should become daily topics of conversation. With a comprehensive Quality Program in place to drive exceptional performance, health system specialty pharmacies will have a solid foundation upon which to seek Specialty Pharmacy Accreditation.
  2. Accreditation Standards Review: Accreditation Standards continue to evolve and become more rigorous over time. Your team should proactively review the appropriate Accreditation Standards and update your policies and procedures accordingly. As you do this, make sure to include citations in order to expedite the review process for the auditors.
  3. Gap Analysis: Conduct a thorough gap analysis of your specialty pharmacy to confirm you are operating in accordance with your policies and procedures and meeting the intent of the Accreditation Standards. This is a great opportunity to confirm you have the appropriate documentation in place, whether for your patient management process, your employee files, or even your disaster recovery testing protocol. All departments should be included and actively engaged in preparation well before the on-site audit. This will provide plenty of time to correct any issues you uncover and provide additional staff training if needed.
  4. Accreditation Training: Participate in training programs offered by accrediting organizations, like ACHC. Whether you participate in-person or online, these trainings provide opportunities to improve your knowledge on a variety of topics throughout the year. You can see a list of ACHC’s upcoming training programs here.
  5. Employee Education: Specialty pharmacy employees should be trained on the Accreditation Standards and aware of what to expect during the on-site audit. They should know how to access their policies and procedures and should be able to speak to the organization’s ongoing quality initiatives.

These five suggestions can help you prepare your health system specialty pharmacy for a successful Specialty Pharmacy Accreditation process. Read Trellis Rx’s other Stepping Stone articles to gain insights about topics including payor network access and LDD access. To learn more about Specialty Pharmacy Accreditation, contact Trellis Rx here or contact ACHC at 855-937-2242 ext. 458.

Coauthored by Jon Pritchett, Pharm.D., RPh., Program Director at Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC), and Mike Becker, Director of Quality and Accreditation at Trellis Rx