The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) believes that pharmacists who practice in hospitals and health systems (“health-system pharmacists”) have a critical leadership role in national health care quality-improvement initiatives. Health-system pharmacists possess the knowledge of drug therapy and medication-use systems required to successfully implement quality-assurance and improvement programs. These pharmacists should use their authority over and accountability for medication management systems to align medication use in hospitals and health systems with the national health care quality agenda.
Major reports from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) have demonstrated that the quality and safety environment across the health care industry needs significant transformation. The Urgent Need to Improve Health Care Quality1 suggested that the quality of the health care system in the United States could be accurately measured and that the quality of care was being compromised by the underuse, overuse, and misuse of health care entities. Crossing the Quality Chasm2 built a compelling case that the American health care delivery system requires major restructuring and proposed goals for improving six key dimensions of health care quality: safety, timeliness, effectiveness, efficiency, equity, and patient centeredness (the “STEEP” framework). To achieve these aims, IOM called for fundamental reforms, including new payment methodologies, public reporting, and transparency of quality-improvement data.