Improving performance of an accountable care organization on a quality measure assessing β-blocker use in systolic heart failure

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The implementation and outcomes are described for a clinical pharmacist–generated initiative to improve the performance of a Medicare Pioneer accountable care organization (ACO) quality measure evaluating the percentage of patients at least 18 years of age with heart failure and a left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) of less than 40% who are prescribed with an evidence-based β-blocker (carvedilol, metoprolol succinate, or bisoprolol).


Atrius Health clinical pharmacists developed several educational documents to facilitate appropriate prescribing of evidence-based therapies in patients with heart failure. After educating clinicians, clinical pharmacists reviewed patient charts to determine eligibility for initiating or switching to evidence-based β-blocker therapy. Medicare Pioneer ACO patients 18–85 years of age with heart failure and a current or prior LVEF of less than 40% were reviewed. Patients had a current prescription for metoprolol tartrate, atenolol, or no β-blocker. Patients were considered ineligible if they had a documented contraindication or intolerance to β-blocker therapy or were clinically unstable. Recommendations to initiate or switch to an appropriate β-blocker were sent electronically by a clinical pharmacist to an eligible patient's treating physician before a scheduled office visit. In approximately three months, 48 patients underwent chart review by a clinical pharmacist. Performance improved by 8% after the implementation, with 82% of eligible patients achieving the quality measure in 2014—an increase from 74% in 2013.


The performance on a Medicare Pioneer ACO quality measure evaluating β-blocker use in systolic heart failure improved in a one-year period after a clinical pharmacist–generated initiative was implemented at Atrius Health practice sites.

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