University of Southern California Team Wins PQA’s 2021 Healthcare Quality Innovation Challenge

Skylar Kenney, Assistant Editor

The goal of this year’s competition was to propose a technology-driven solution to address pandemics, mental health, or social determinants of health (SDOH).

The Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) announced at their online Annual Meeting that the University of Southern California (USC) has won the organization’s fourth annual Healthcare Quality Innovation Challenge (HQIC). HQIC is a national collegiate competition in which student teams present technology-enabled solutions to improve healthcare quality.

“PQA congratulates the University of Southern California on this incredible achievement,” said PQA Chief Executive Officer Micah Cost, PharmD, MS, in a press release. “The Healthcare Quality Innovation Challenge provides visibility and recognition for excellence in multidisciplinary approaches and technology-driven solutions to improve care. Innovation will continue to inspire the future for optimized medication use and improved patient care, and PQA appreciates every college for their participation in this year’s challenge.”

The goal of this year’s competition was to propose a technology-driven solution to address pandemics, mental health, or social determinants of health (SDOH). The competition included teams from colleges across the United States and from different disciplines, including pharmacy, epidemiology, business administration, and public health.

USC’s winning team of Lesley Chan, Avantika Pathak, Grace Singson, and Zade Hikmat presented “Care Collaborative Information Technology Prescriptions (CCITRx),” a software tool for pharmacies to focus on medication adherence and intervention opportunities against SDOH. The software combines patient SDOH screenings, referral information, and nonadherence risk information in an integrated workflow solution.

Virginia Commonwealth University finished second with “myDigitalARC,” and Cedarville University finished third with “Utilizing the PHQ-2 and GAD-2 to Screen for Mental Health Disorders in the Local Pharmacy.”

Finalists were judged by a PQA review committee and scored on the quality of their presentations and ability to answer questions by a panel of judges, who determined the winner. The competition was sponsored by Pharmacy Quality Solutions (PQS).

“PQS is committed to supporting the development of the next generation of quality professionals,” said Todd Sega, PharmD, chief executive officer of PQS, in the release. “Engaging students early on helps enable them for success, and HQIC is special in that it encourages collaboration across disciplines. The presentations we saw this year give us confidence the future of pharmacy is bright.”

REFERENCE

University of Southern California team wins PQA’s 2021 Healthcare Quality Innovation Challenge [news release]. PQA; May 24, 2021. Accessed May 25, 2021. https://www.pqaalliance.org/2021-hqic