Practice-based Research Networks

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A growing phenomenon nationally and particularly in some regions and states are practice-based research networks (PBRNs). PBRNs have existed primarily though physicians. These practitioners create a formal organization and usually incorporate it under a Subchapter S or other type of corporate structure. Practitioners can opt to join and contribute some sort of maintenance fee and then have the choice of participating with other practitioners in the network on various research/demonstration projects aimed to improve care and/or revenue streams. Pharmacies are joining some PBRNs and in a few cases creating PBRNs of pharmacies on their own.

Chartrand et al evaluated the anticoagulation management activities of community pharmacies in a PBRN.1 They describe the suboptimal real-world use of oral anticoagulants in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). They assessed the feasibility of implementing, through a PBRN, a quality improvement program on anticoagulant management services (AMSs) by community pharmacists for AF patients and explored its impact on the quality of clinical practices and pharmacists' knowledge. Pharmacists identified 5-20 AF patients on oral anticoagulants per pharmacy and completed questionnaires at baseline and after 6 months. Clinical practices were evaluated using a set of quality indicators (QIs). QI scores ranged from 0% (no QI achieved) to 100% (all QIs achieved). The program included an audit and feedback based on QIs and a personalized training program including online videos. Participation rates and satisfaction were documented. A total of 37 pharmacies (50 pharmacists) identified 222 patients who had received either vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) or direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs), or both. All pharmacies received their baseline quality report, and facilitators contacted them by phone to provide feedback. Mean global QI scores for VKAs and DOACs improved, as did global knowledge scores. The researchers concluded that implementing a quality improvement program for AMS in community pharmacy is relevant and feasible and may improve pharmacists' practices and knowledge.

Pharmacy managers without the experience and resources to pilot new models of care at their pharmacy can look to join a PBRN where a model or service can be piloted in a larger number of venues, thus affording it more validity and allowing each participating pharmacy some knowledge and resources to attempt new services. Additionally, some pharmacies might be provided grant monies and/or opportunities to participate in scholarly papers and presentations to further their brand.

Additional information about Operations Management and Implementing Value-Added Pharmacy Services can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.

1Chartrand M, Lalonde L, Cantin A, et al. Anticoagulant management services in community pharmacy: Feasibility of implementing a quality improvement programme through a practice-based research network. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2018; https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpt.12745.

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Shane Desselle

Professor of Social and Behavioral Pharmacy, Touro University California

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