Checking in with the Pharmacist Shared Medicines List

20 December 2019: Webstercare has taken the lead in adopting the new Pharmacist Shared Medicines List, a new feature of My Health Record that will improve medicines safety.

Early this year, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia released a report whose statistics underscored the importance of improving medicines safety in Australia: medication-related problems cause 250,000 hospital admissions each year and result in an annual cost of $1.4 billion. That reality is why all Australian governments, through the Council of Australian Governments Health Council, recently agreed to make the Quality Use of Medicines and Medicines Safety the 10th National Health Priority Area.

Pharmacist

From its inception, the Agency’s Medicines Safety Program has been focused on improving access to information about medicines, allergies and adverse reactions, to support safe and efficient use of medicines. My Health Record already offers a range of available medicines information, including the medicines information view, which gathers and sorts medicines information from across My Health Record to offer a single view of information like allergies and prescription and dispense records.

Going a step further to improve medicines safety

Though vital for medicines reconciliation, the current medicines information view doesn’t necessarily include over-the-counter or complementary medicines that might be pertinent for an individual’s risk for a medication-related issue.

“As PSA’s Medicine Safety: Take Care report found, 250,000 hospital admissions in Australia each year are due to medicine-related problems and half of these are preventable,” Associate Professor Chris Freeman, National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia told us. “The pharmacist contribution of PSML to a person’s My Health Record means patients and health professionals will have access to more complete and accurate information about their medicines, including non-prescription medicines such as painkillers and herbal remedies. By having access to this information, decisions about prescribing, dispensing and administration of medicines will be more informed and safer,” he said.

The Pharmacist Shared Medicines List (PSML) builds on the capability of the medicines information view by providing a list of all medicines the patient is known to be taking at a point in time. Pharmacists are responsible for creating and uploading PSML documents and this enables pharmacists to take a more active role in contributing to a consumer’s My Health Record. The PSML is likely a useful reference source for all health professionals on a patient’s medicines, especially at transitions of care: for example, minimising the risks that can heighten as patients move in and out of hospital-based care.

From idea to implementation: the current state of the PSML

Over the past year, the Agency has worked with partners and software vendors to make the PSML a reality and educate health professionals on how to use it.

George Tambassis, National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia says “The Guild has advocated for the benefits of the My Health Record as an opportunity for pharmacists to be more actively involved in the clinical care of patients. The PSML will enhance the accuracy of medicines information in My Health Record as it provides a consumer’s comprehensive list of medicines at a point in time, curated by a pharmacist”.

Webstercare, Fred Group and HPS have been working toward functionality that allows a pharmacist to begin uploading PSMLs for their patients, with Webstercare being the first to finalise production and start uploading PSMLs at initial sites. Meanwhile, HPS is likely to begin PSML uploads early next year, and project expansion plans now include jurisdictions who will in future generate a PSML for patients on discharge from hospital.

We’re also working with partner organisations and stakeholders to ensure pharmacists feel empowered to make the most of PSML capabilities. For instance, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has published a revised 2019 edition of My Health Record Guidelines for Pharmacists, which includes guidance on how to generate and use a PSML.

Watch this space — the medicines information view has already benefitted medicines safety, and the PSML is set to build on this progress.

See also: Media release: Another milestone reached - Webstercare becomes the first organisation to start using the Pharmacist Shared Medicines List