Metrics, evaluation and outcomes are essential to measuring and sharing your successes and opportunities, and demonstrating what is actually being done. They are useful to:
- Attract funding– If your idea is successful as determined by evaluating metrics, it will attract potential funders who want to support good ideas.
- Spread the vision– Great outcomes from established programs encourage new programs to start and existing programs to improve and expand.
- Deepen integration locally– Sharing outcomes with free clinics, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), hospitals, departments of health and others help them understand the impact of your work.
- Credibility– Your credibility establishes trustworthiness for the charity pharmacy and the services provided.
Success depends not only on the right “product”: improved medication access to the uninsured and improving health outcomes. Being truly successful in achieving a charity pharmacy mission includes ensuring a proper “supply chain”: staff adequately trained in pharmacy skills and for the particular population being served. Equally important is a relationship of trust and education:
- Patients understand how and when to use medication, common adverse effects, and access to and provision of other resources that promote health and stability (food, housing, social services, etc.)
- Providers who act as referral sources to your pharmacy and are collaborators with the services they provide
- Community government, hospitals, clinics, churches, and all who can collaborate with your charitable pharmacy to build a healthier community
Gathering qualitative and quantitative data as you go establishes standards and allows for adapting processes frequently. Staffing can be shifted to areas of most demand. Services with the most impact, such as disease or service specific education (CHF, diabetes, MTM, device utilization, smoking cessation), may be expanded. Other services that have less impact or are a service that can be offered from another resource, for example types of PAPs, may be reduced or eliminated. Evaluation allows for funding to funnel to what has the greatest impact and encourages gains in funding for practices that show the positive impact. Measures of variability provide opportunities to train best practices across the supply chain.