HCFA writes SCRIPT for elderly medication use

HCFA medication initiative a 2-year effort

Begun late this year and still in its earliest stages, a two-year project aimed at developing national measures to improve medication use standards and decrease errors has been funded and launched by the Baltimore-based Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA).

The Study of Clinically Relevant Indicators for Pharmacologic Therapy (SCRIPT), will focus on medication use for ambulatory patients over 65. It will be conducted by a multidisciplinary steering committee chaired by the Joint Commission on Accredita tion of Healthcare Organizations under a HCFA contract. Members include the American Pharma ceu tical Association, American Medical Associa tion, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, American Association of Health Plans, American Health Quality Associa tion, National Committee for Quality Assurance, and individuals from the Harvard School of Medicine and University of Iowa.

Another coalition also will be tapped for input. That group includes the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, Association of Managed Care Pharmacists, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and Pharmaceutical Care Man age ment Association. This group will provide methods for developing medication use indicators and quality criteria, a compendium of existing evidence-based measures of medication use and error reduction, and core performance measures.

From there, the science of indicator selection and initial screening of indicators will begin, followed by data collection, beta testing, and outside comment. The steering committee hopes to have published materials on the program early in 2000.

For more on SCRIPT, contact HCFA at (202) 690-6726 or JCAHO at (630) 916-5600.