Alternative Medications for Medications in the Use of High-Risk Medications in the Elderly and Potentially Harmful Drug–Disease Interactions in the Elderly Quality Measures

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Abstract

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) use the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Beers Criteria to designate the quality measure Use of High-Risk Medications in the Elderly (HRM). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) use the HRM measure to monitor and evaluate the quality of care provided to Medicare beneficiaries. NCQA additionally uses the AGS Beers Criteria to designate the quality measure Potentially Harmful Drug–Disease Interactions in the Elderly. Medications included in these measures may be harmful to elderly adults and negatively affect a healthcare plan's quality ratings. Prescribers, pharmacists, patients, and healthcare plans may benefit from evidence-based alternative medication treatments to avoid these problems. Therefore the goal of this work was to develop a list of alternative medications to those included in the two measures. The authors conducted a comprehensive literature review from 2000 to 2015 and a search of their personal files. From the evidence, they prepared a list of drug-therapy alternatives with supporting references. A reference list of nonpharmacological approaches was also provided when appropriate. NCQA, PQA, the 2015 AGS Beers Criteria panel, and the Executive Committee of the AGS reviewed the drug therapy alternatives and nonpharmacological approaches. Recommendations by these groups were incorporated into the final list of alternatives. The final product of drug-therapy alternatives to medications included in the two quality measures and some nonpharmacological resources will be useful to health professionals, consumers, payers, and health systems that care for older adults.

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