Skyline Family Practice participating with MUSC and PPRNet on Federal Grant to Research Safe Medication Practices

PPRNet is the first practice-based quality improvement and research network connecting primary healthcare providers through the use of a common EHR system to capture patient data. Founded in 1995, all physicians participating in PPRNet use McKesson’s Practice Partner Patient Records medical office software to help drive quality improvements for their patients. Designed for the independent physician practice, this award-winning electronic health record (EHR) and medical office software solution is one of only eight to receive ambulatory EHR certification in 2007 by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology.

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, the Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 10,000 employees, including 1,300 faculty members. MUSC operates a 600-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital and a leading Institute of Psychiatry.

Practice Partner Research Network (PPRNet) at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston, S.C., received a $1.2 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to research medication safety in the ambulatory setting. Skyline Family Practice is one of the participating practices with this national project.

The study, titled Medication Safety in Primary Care Practice - Translating Research into Practice (MS-TRIP), is a three-year demonstration project that will define a set of medication safety quality indicators, incorporate these performance indicators into practice management reports and assess the impact of the PPRNet-TRIP quality improvement model on the indicators. Currently, PPRNet membership consists of 137 physician practices representing more than 700 healthcare providers and 615,000 active patients in 38 states. Steven Ornstein, M.D., director of PPRNet and professor of Family Medicine at MUSC, is the principal investigator for the study.

“Medication errors in primary care practice are an important cause of morbidity, but the extent of these errors in the outpatient setting is largely unknown, and effective interventions for reducing these errors need to be developed and tested,” said Andrea Wessell, PharmD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Outcome Sciences at the South Carolina College of Pharmacy and a co-investigator of the MS-TRIP study. “PPRNet is an ideal real-world laboratory for primary care practices across the U.S. that are interested in quality improvement.”

 “Since 1995, we’ve been working with PPRNet and hundreds of providers to help practices use EHRs to improve quality,” said Andrew G. Ury, M.D., vice president and general manager of McKesson’s Practice Partner business. “It will be exciting to see PPRNet’s efforts applied specifically to the important issue of medication safety.”

Tripp Bradd, M.D., one of the founding board members with PPRNET and a partner at Skyline Family Practice is excited to be involved with the project. "The safety of our patients has always been of tantamount importance here at Skyline Family Practice.", Bradd states. "Being able to participate allows us to further evaluate our processes to increase the safety even more. Furthermore, PPRNET provides expertise with research and the ability to network with other practices who are likewise dedicated to the improvement in patient care through use of the electronic medical record."

Planned medication safety quality indicators include avoidance of inappropriate therapy; inappropriate dosing based on age, weight and/or renal function; drug-drug interactions; drug-disease state interactions; and adverse drug event prevention. McKesson's Patient Records will be the critical tool utilized by the 20 practices evaluating medication safety quality indicators developed by MS-TRIP investigators.

From October 2007 through July 2010, MS-TRIP participants will perform quarterly EHR extracts, attend annual network meetings and host site visits to help systematize the use of medication safety clinical decision support features. Results of the MS-TRIP study will be published, and the findings will be disseminated to other PPRNet practices.