Media release: Australian Medicines Terminology reaches 100th milestone release
Every day, clinicians across Australia prescribe medicines for their patients, and pharmacists dispense them. The clinical systems that manage these processes may vary widely, and it is vital that the medicines information within these diverse systems is always interpreted correctly.
Australia is a recognised leader in the development and application of clinical terminologies such as the Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT), which codes and describes all commonly used medicines to support electronic medication management.
Australian e-Health Research Centre CEO Dr David Hansen said that Australia is world-renowned for its achievements in this field.
"The Australian Digital Health Agency continues to provide the benchmark in making clinical terminology available and usable in a national healthcare system.
“Accurate clinical data captured at the point of care using a high quality clinical terminology is a key to improving the safety and efficiency of our health system, and enabling the future of health in areas such as precision medicine, genomics and big data analytics,” Dr Hansen said.
Australian Digital Health Agency Chief Medical Adviser Meredith Makeham said the AMT is a key building block that makes the safe and accurate transfer of medicines information possible. It allows information about medicines to be stored and transferred electronically without misunderstanding or loss of meaning.
“People are harmed in our health system daily as a result of unintended mistakes associated with medicines management, and these can be caused by our clinical information systems being unable to connect and share information in a seamless way.
“The AMT uses a national, standards-based approach to the identification and naming of medicines. Using terminologies like the AMT greatly improves our ability to communicate medicines information accurately between clinical settings, and reduces the risk of harm associated with medication error for people as they encounter the health system,” Professor Makeham said.
Healthcare Software John Elkerton CEO and Director said that the AMT supports the company’s clinical software solutions across three states.
“Without a nationally recognised medicines terminology the sharing of medicines information across disparate clinical systems can be clinically risky business. Using the Australian Medicines Terminology removes this risk,” Mr Elkerton said.
The AMT has been developed as the standard medicines terminology for Australia. It supports electronic medicines management activities and has direct benefits for clinical safety and interoperability between systems. AMT can also be used in research and data analytics.
MIMS Australia and New Zealand CEO and Executive Director Robert Best sees the AMT as a key enabler.
“We're really starting to see our early work integrating AMT with MIMS pay off, as more and more software partners are able to use the AMT to access MIMS drug knowledge and clinical decision support,” Mr Best said.
The AMT has been updated in monthly releases since its first clinical release in June 2009. It has recently reached the 100th milestone release. During that time, the number of listed medicines has grown and the underlying model has been successively refined.
Medical researchers and academics are also finding the AMT useful. Academic Developer Peter Gee works in the University of Tasmania’s Division of Pharmacy in the Faculty of Health and is impressed by its versatility.
“I use the Australian Medicines Terminology in both business and academic research and teaching contexts. It’s so well structured that it lends itself to a wide variety of uses in digital health applications,” Mr Gee said.
The National Clinical Terminology Service (NCTS) is responsible for managing, developing and distributing AMT in Australia. This responsibility also extends to other clinical terminologies such as SNOMED CT-AU and related terminology tools and applications.
David Cooper, Senior Media Manager
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About the Australian Digital Health Agency
The Agency is tasked with improving health outcomes for all Australians through the delivery of digital healthcare systems, and implementing Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy – Safe, Seamless, and Secure in collaboration with partners across the community. The Agency is the System Operator of the My Health Record, and provides leadership, coordination, and delivery of a collaborative and innovative approach to utilising technology to support and enhance a clinically safe and connected national health system. These improvements will give individuals more control of their health and their health information, and support healthcare professionals to provide informed healthcare through access to current clinical and treatment information. Further information: www.digitalhealth.gov.au.