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Engaging pharmacists to enhance medicines safety

Published 30 May 2019

The Pharmacist Shared Medicines List is a new feature coming to My Health Record that provides a complete view of a consumer’s medicines, including non-prescription and over the counter products.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s report Medicine Safety: Take Care cites some sobering statistics on medicines safety in Australia: 250,000 hospital admissions annually as a result of medication-related problems, at an annual cost of $1.4 billion. The good news is that half of these problems are thought to be preventable, and the Agency is developing tools to assist in this endeavour.

“Proactive engagement of pharmacists has the potential to significantly reduce the number of medication-related hospital admissions and adverse medication events in Australia due to their place in the healthcare system, the frequency with which they have patient contact, developments in health infrastructure, including My Health Record, and the availability of digital tools to support medication management.” [Medicine Safety: Take Care, p. 20]

Facilitating comprehensive medicines reconciliation

Hospital discharge summaries, and prescription and dispense records are already captured by My Health Record, and their medicines information is usefully collated in the medicines information view. However, these records will not include over counter (OTC) products and other non-prescription medicines that may be relevant to medicines reconciliation.

This is where the new Pharmacist Shared Medicines List (PSML) can help. This is a pharmacist-curated list of a consumer’s medicines, developed in collaboration with the consumer or their care providers, as appropriate. This collaboration enables the pharmacist to confirm and discuss the complete list of medicines being taken by the consumer, including complementary and OTC products. The resulting list can then be uploaded to the consumer’s My Health Record, providing an excellent foundation for medicines reconciliation by care providers, especially during episodes of transitions of care.

PSMLs will help to provide a more complete picture of consumer medicines

PSMLs will help to provide a more complete picture of consumer medicines

The addition of the PSML to the My Health Record system will significantly enhance the completeness of the information in the medicines information view, further increasing the utility of this tool. Moreover, when PSMLs are developed in a community setting, the personal collaboration between pharmacists and consumers represents a golden opportunity to discuss a consumer’s medicines and any related issues.

How should I prepare for the PSML?

The PSML will be included in the next update to My Health Record for use by early adoption sites. Revised professional guidelines will soon provide guidance to pharmacists on generating and uploading a PSML, and other health professionals and consumers will be further informed about what a PSML is and how it is best used to support patient care and enhance medicines safety.

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