Pharmacy researcher scores second national award


Erica Tong has received the 2017 Sir Richard Stawell Memorial Prize and the MDA National Prize for Excellence from the Medical Journal of Australia.
Erica Tong has received the 2017 Sir Richard Stawell Memorial Prize and the MDA National Prize for Excellence from the Medical Journal of Australia.

Monash Pharmacy PhD student Erica Tong has been awarded the 2017 Sir Richard Stawell Memorial Prize

This prize awards a research paper that addresses a medical subject of clinical significance.

Ms Tong received the prestigious award from the Australian Medical Association for her research paper conducted at Alfred Health on reducing medication errors in hospital discharge summaries.

In May she also won the MDA National Prize for Excellence from the MJA, which honours the authors of the best original clinical research article published in the MJA in each calendar year.

Ms Tong, from the Monash Centre for Medicine Use and Safety (CMUS), is lead author on the paper titled “Reducing medication errors in hospital discharge summaries: a randomised controlled trial”.

The research evaluated whether pharmacists completing the medication management plan in the medical discharge summary decreased the rate of medication errors in these summaries.

Ms Tong and her collaborators from Monash University and Alfred Health found that completion of the medical plan was effective, with medication errors occurring at a rate of 15% when the plan was completed by a pharmacist, compared to 61.5% when it was not.

“These results suggest that pharmacist input into discharge plans for patients should be widely adopted,” said Ms Tong, who also completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees at Monash University.

“However, to be maximally effective, this requires integrating clinical pharmacists into the team structure of all medical units, and this is not currently standard in all Australian hospitals.”

“For the AMA to award such a prestigious prize to a lead author who is still completing their PhD is unheard of,” said Ms Tong’s supervisor and co-author Associate Professor Kirstie Galbraith.

“To receive two awards as a PhD student from the AMA and the MJA on the same paper is a significant recognition and demonstrates the importance of Ms Tong’s research”.

The winner of the Sir Richard Stawell Memorial Prize is invited to the AMA Annual General Meeting to receive the award and are also asked to make a presentation on their research in front of their medical peers.

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