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Medication Management – The need for a solution

Tech and Innovation

Posted on June 9, 2016

3 min read

With as many as 18,000 Australians dying each year as a result of adverse drug events (ADEs)[1] and an annual bill of $2.8 billion spent treating medical errors[2], there is a need for a solution to improve the state of medication management in Australia, writes Paul Naismith.

Over the last 20 years medication management has progressed from hand written scripts, paper based medical files and medication charts to electronic systems, which have helped reduced errors associated with illegible handwriting, unclear terminology and clinical decision support.

Today the focus is on improving the communication and visibility of these systems and moving towards a single source of truth.

Sending prescription information between the prescriber and the dispenser has improved in the last seven years with the introduction of Electronic Prescribing (ePrescribing) systems, such as eRx Script Exchange. ePrescribing provides a secure and safe transmission of prescription information between doctors/hospitals and pharmacists resulting in a reduction of medication-related errors and improve the safety and effective delivery of care.

Additionally the recent creation of an Electronic Health Record (EHR), in particular the Commonwealth’s My Health Record (MyHR) aims to provide doctors, pharmacists, hospitals and patients with shared access to critical medicines information and services.

Initially MyHR will integrate with the MedView Medicines Workspace and will contain lifelong details on a patient’s medication history, allergies and medical problems. With successful implementation, it will allow healthcare providers to access vital health and medication history, such as drug allergies and drug-drug interactions.

With most medication errors classed as preventable, the implementation of electronic medication management systems (eMMs) can assist to reduce errors.

Medication management aims to facilitate the safe and effective use of medication and involves three phases –

  • Prescribing – selecting a medication
  • Order communication – transmitting a prescription
  • Dispensing – pharmacist reviewing and approving transmission

While each phase has the potential to cause error, the use of existing and emerging technologies which encourage better connectivity among patients, their providers and the healthcare system, can help improve medication management.

With technology continuing to evolve, so too will the management of medication. Improving the communication and visibility between existing clinical and dispensing systems, as well as patient’s personal devices will assist us in improving patient safety and clinical outcomes.

[1] My Health Record gets one million more reasons to sign – Sussan Ley health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/health-mediarel-yr2016-ley016.htm
[2] My Health Record gets one million more reasons to sign – Sussan Ley health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/health-mediarel-yr2016-ley016.htm