Targeted medicine safety in primary care aims to reduce hospital stays

Decreasing the number of medication-related hospital admissions is the aim of a $2.5 million Medical Research Future Fund project co-led by Griffith University and QUT.

The three-year collaborative study will use health record data to automate the detection of medicine safety issues before harm occurs.

“In Australia, 250,000 hospital admissions and 400,000 emergency presentations per year are due to potentially preventable medication-related hospitalisations,” said Dr Jean Spinks from Griffith University’s Centre for Applied Health Economics.

“Medicine safety can be targeted in primary care by identifying people at greatest risk, undertaking interventions in a timely way and ensuring the health workforce can resolve problems before harm occurs.”

Pharmacists, working collaboratively with GPs, Primary Health Networks and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHO’s), will systematically address issues such as under prescribing, over prescribing or incomplete therapeutic monitoring.

Professor Lisa Nissen from QUT School of Clinical Sciences says an important part of the trial is the co-design of the intervention with both consumers and health practitioners.

“This is something new for consumers, pharmacists and GPs, so it is important to ensure that these groups have input into how the intervention will work,” Professor Nissen said.

“One group we are particularly focused on is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who use a lot of medication for chronic disease and may have reduced access to healthcare.”

Co-led by Dr Jean Spinks (Griffith University) and Professor Lisa Nissen (QUT), the collaborative study includes the Centre for Health Economics, Monash University and the Department of General Practice, Melbourne University with key partner organisations: Australian Digital Health Agency, Brisbane South Primary Health Network, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), MedAdvisor, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.