SHPA calls for action on poor medicines management

pills spill out of beaker

SHPA CEO Kristin Michaels today called for joint Commonwealth and State action to reduce preventable hospital admissions resulting from poor management of medications.

“Australia must take priority action to improve medicines management,” she says.

“There is robust evidence that 2-3% of hospital admissions are medicines related and there is evidence of substantial problems associated with patient discharge processes that could lead to avoidable and preventable medication errors,” Michaels says.

“Among the elderly population medicines-related hospital admissions rise to 30%.”

Michaels said the Hospital Outreach Medication Review service at Monash Health is an excellent model for proactive enhancement of medication safety.

“The just-published research from Monash Health showed that hospital outreach medication reviews, led by pharmacists, can reduce hospital readmissions by 25% among people aged between 51 and 65 years. It is absolutely essential that we do not ignore the results of this research,”  Michaels says.

“While some medications errors can be attributed to patient misunderstanding or confusion, one of the major causes of significant problems with medications is the divide between hospitals and primary health care.

“The Home Medicines Review Program has had some impact but it needs to be redesigned to better serve the needs of the patients, in line with the approach taken to the Health Care Homes model.”

She says SHPA has been an advocate for better medicines management for many years.

“We are keen to collaborate with governments to improve protocols and actions to ensure patients are not put at risk from inadequate medicines management, especially when care is transferred between hospitals and primary care.

“We are also well positioned to support the design and implementation of hospital-initiated home medication reviews which must be considered as a national health priority,” Michaels says.

Michaels says her call for action is supported by evidence presented in the most recent issue of the Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research.

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  1. Amir Emdidian

    Well, without being jugemental and after two years of careful observation I have come to a point that I believe we are having a defected cycle of multidisciplinary mismanagement rather than management of medication, where not only some of the health care team members, but also some of the patients themselves seem to be unintentionally (I repeat, unintentionally) ignorant.

    Firstly, and as the author precisely points out we have this problem of mis-communcation between hospitals/secondary care and primary care. It seems either no reports are sent/received, or if received not reviewed properly, or if reviewed, not taken seriously. As a result, the changes are not implicated effectively. Some health professionals may not follow therapeutic guidelines/protocols properly, while some others may tend to push towards over-dosing/over-prescribing, or fixing one side effect by a new add-up. Some pharmacists do not take clinical interventions seriously. And some patients ignore the advice on effect of lifer style changes on some medical conditions while some other always look for a quick fix. And it continues…

    Adding all these “somes” will definitely result in the 30% (if not more) medicine-related hospital admissions mentioned by the author.

    • Karalyn Huxhagen

      as a medication management pharmacist involved in programs across both hospital and community I agree with your comments. Working on a program of integration between the two disciplines is giving me headaches and grey hairs but has also raised my awareness of how large the problem is.

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