For Immediate Release
Nicolette Mehas, PharmD, CPHQ
Executive Fellow
Pharmacy Quality Alliance
PQA Announces Winners of the Healthcare Quality Innovation Challenge

Teams Compete and Create Technology-enabled Solutions to Tackle the
Opioid Epidemic
Alexandria, VA (May 24, 2018) - The Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA), a non-profit leader in quality measure development, announced the winner of the inaugural Healthcare Quality Innovation Challenge, where student teams presented technology-enabled solutions to improve healthcare quality. 

The interdisciplinary competition included students from different backgrounds, including pharmacy, computer science, nursing, business administration and public health. Twenty-two teams participated in the initial round of the competition in February. Three finalists competed in front of a panel of judges and attendees of the PQA Annual Meeting in Baltimore on May 18, 2018.

The judging panel and the audience chose the University of California, San Francisco as the first-place winner for their presentation, "Improving Utilization of Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) Via Controlled Medication Electronic Transfer (CoMET)" a One-Click Access from Electronic Health Record Systems." The solution offers a quick, one-click tool for providers to easily review medication histories with the potential to identify cases of misuse or diversion before furnishing opioids.

Midwestern University took second place with the presentation, "A Data Driven Solution to Address the Epidemic of Opioid Abuse and Improper Prescribing." In third place was the University of Mississippi with "Interactive Coordination in Healthcare Promoting Safe and Effective Prescription Drug Use (iCHOOSE Rx)." Each finalist team responded to the prompt for "Addressing Potentially Unsafe Opioid Use - Develop a technology-enabled solution that can facilitate an intervention to address potentially unsafe opioid use and/or prescribing."

"PQA congratulates all the teams that participated in the Challenge," said Laura Cranston, chief executive officer of Pharmacy Quality Alliance. "The Healthcare Quality Innovation Challenge is unique because it is only open to pharmacy schools and related disciplines on campus. A team of students leveraged technology to create a solution to improve healthcare quality with a focus on measurement. The goal is collaboration on new and improved ways to advance quality measures in priority areas, such as diabetes, opioids and patient engagement with Medicare Part D."

"We see daily how data shines a light on best practices, as well as areas of opportunity," said Jeff Newell, chief executive officer of Pharmacy Quality Solutions (PQS) and the sponsor of the competition. "Given the depth and breadth of our collaboration with payors and pharmacies, we witness daily the many approaches used to achieve improvement goals. There is a need for continued innovation to take on the increasingly complex healthcare challenge, and we look forward to sponsoring this opportunity again."
About PQA
The Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) is a non-profit organization committed to
optimizing health by advancing the quality of medication use. PQA, a recognized leader in quality measure development, is dedicated to improving the safe and appropriate use of medications, researching the impact of quality measurement, and providing education on quality-based healthcare. Established in 2006, PQA is a transparent, consensus-based, multi-stakeholder organization representing over 230 member organizations including healthcare payers, health plans, community pharmacies, physician providers, life sciences organizations, state and federal government agencies, academic institutions, standard setting/accreditation organizations, health information technology (HIT) partners, and other stakeholders interested in improving the quality of the medication-use system. For more information, please visit .
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