Specialty Pharmacy Membership

Challenges Faced by Specialty Pharmacy

As part of one of the largest growing pharmacy areas, specialty pharmacies face many of the same regulatory issues as traditional retail pharmacies. Yet, there are additional challenges specific to specialty medications and the patients served. 

For specialty pharmacies to expand services and gain access to payers and certain limited-access specialty medications, they need to acquire accreditations from agencies such as the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Commission for Health Care. 

Accreditation standards require that pharmacies establish strong infrastructures and operations for medication safety and safe patient management. This includes continuous improvement initiatives and proactive risk assessments and processes to identify potential problems and ensure the best possible outcomes for patients. 

The Specialty Pharmacy membership is rooted in data and expertise from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices and can provide actionable guidance and practical strategies for anyone involved in handling risk throughout the medication management process. Expert research and advice address a wide range of risk factors. 

Potential Risks That a Specialty Pharmacy Membership Can Help You Address

A variety of risk factors can impact the medication-use process for specialty medications. Some of the most common risk factors include:

  • Patient characteristics. Individual patient characteristics, such as age, weight, and health history, can all play a role in how well they respond to a medication and how likely they are to experience adverse events. 
  • Drug interactions. The potential for drug interactions between a specialty-pharmacy medication and other retail medications can increase the risk of adverse events. 
  • Dosing and administration. How a specialty medication is prescribed and administered can impact effectiveness and safety. For example, incorrect dosing can lead to underdosing or overdosing, while improper administration can lead to medication errors. 
  • Patient adherence. In order for any medication to be effective, patients must take it as prescribed. However, adherence rates can be low for a variety of reasons, including cost, side effects, and patient misinterpretation of administration directions. 
  • Storage and handling. Specialty medications often require specific storage and handling conditions, such as refrigeration or handling in a clean room. If drug-specific handling conditions are not met, the medication may not be effective. 

What makes this membership unique?

ISMP is known and respected as the gold standard for medication safety information. We have served as a vital force for progress. ISMP's advocacy work alone has resulted in numerous essential changes in clinical practice, public policy, and drug labeling and packaging. 

ECRI is a global, independent authority on healthcare technology and safety. ECRI products and services help the healthcare community improve quality, reduce cost, and achieve better outcomes across all care settings. 

ECRI, and ISMP, an ECRI affiliate, created this membership to provide comprehensive resources to assist members in addressing safety gaps and meeting accreditation requirements surrounding medication safety and quality outcomes. 

Membership Benefits

The Specialty Pharmacy membership can help you meet accreditation standards by providing guidance on improving medication safety in your pharmacy.

Monthly newsletters keep members informed and provide the latest information about risk factors in the specialty-medication-use process and action steps to mitigate risks.

The online drug-specific risk-assessment tools in combination with the ISMP Medication Safety Self Assessment for Specialty Pharmacy can help you create robust practices that meet accreditation standards.

Monthly user group meetings give members a chance to share expertise and learn from peers across the nation as well as from ISMP experts. 

Five key membership tools:

  1. Specialty Drug Proactive Risk Assessments

  2. ISMP Medication Safety Self Assessment® for Specialty Pharmacy

  3. User group access to share lessons learned

  4. ISMP Medication Safety Alert!® Community/Ambulatory Care newsletter

  5. Guidance resources, tools, and best practices for topics such as:

    • Risk identification 

    • Patient education

    • Patient information 

    • High-alert medications

    • Medication education

Sign up today for a free consultation to discuss how the Specialty Pharmacy membership can help you mitigate medication errors and maintain accreditation.