Implementing Centralized Health-System Medication Quality and Safety

New opportunity to lead centralized health-system medication quality and safety

I may soon have the opportunity to develop a new department charged with leadership and coordination of medication quality and safety across a 15-hospital health care system. The health-system also includes a physician practice employing the majority of the system physicians, a health plan, a next generation ACO, an extensive outpatient facilities including retail pharmacies, urgent care centers, and some partnerships with non-system facilities.

In the current structure, the academic health center/quaternary referral center leads all medication efforts for the system.  Much of the focus for this structure is on safety.  The new System Medication Quality & Safety Officer will report up through the Chief Pharmacy Officer, ultimately to the System Chief Medical Officer.  Interestingly, the 15 hospital pharmacy directors will continue to report through each facility’s Chief Operating Officer, ultimately to the System Chief Operating Officer.  It is evident that this position will need to use relationships/impact and influence to affect change.

  1.  In developing this new role, what should the first 90 days in this new position look like?
  2. How do I best balance all of the opportunities (mile wide) vs. being able to strategically focus (mile deep)?  What is the highest priority?
  3. Should I ultimately pursue a wider scope for this role?  Should this include leading medication quality and safety initiatives for the health plan and population health?  Retail pharmacies?  Seizing opportunities to increase collaboration with local school of medicine and local pharmacy schools?
  4. What other significant points have I not yet considered?


End of Life Care


Implementing a value based health care delivery model

Participant comments on Implementing Centralized Health-System Medication Quality and Safety

  1. I would anticipate that one of the first priorities would be to reach out to the various facilities and determine what exactly their perceived problems and needs are. In a new role, no one is going to have any idea what it is that person is supposed to be doing or how that new role is going to impact them. I would advocate for choosing one or two issues and solving them first before taking a more broad approach, where it may be more difficult to achieve success on individual projects. You are going to have to come up with a few “wins” or successes to justify the continuation of the role. I think another important aspect would be to figure out how you are going to interact with the individual pharmacy directors. It seems like there would be some risk of having competing agendas.

Leave a comment