Health professional participation in NPS MedicineWise programs remains strong

During 2011-12, more than half of Australian GPs, 20% of registered pharmacists and interns and one quarter of all registered nurses working in general practice took part in NPS MedicineWise programs.

NPS MedicineWise CEO Dr Lynn Weekes says that the results of the latest annual Evaluation Report reflect the many ways that the organisation contributes to the quality use of medicines and other medical technologies.

Additionally, the report highlights the positive impact of three key therapeutic programs on GP prescribing behaviour.

During the year, 14,133 unique GPs (57% of registered GPs in Australia) participated in NPS activities, with the most popular activity being one on one educational visits, followed by small group case-based discussions.

“GP participation in the 2005 and 2008 NPS diabetes programs Reducing risk in type 2 diabetes and Early use of insulin and oral antidiabetic drugs was associated with an estimated relative increase in the modelled rate of prescribing of metformin of 7% in 2009–10 and the same again in 2010–11, in line with the programs’ key messages,” says Dr Weekes.

“Similarly, GP participation in the 2008 NPS dementia program Treating the symptoms of dementia was associated with a 9% relative reduction in the modelled rate of prescribing of cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine in 2010–11, which was also in line with the program’s messages.”

The Evaluation Report report also shows that GPs who participated in the NPS acute low back pain interactive workshops were less likely to order CT scans (52%) compared with non-participants (62%). This shows an improvement in referral behaviour according to best practice guidelines.

There were also 5,167 unique pharmacists and pharmacist interns (20% of registered pharmacists and enrolled interns in Australia) and 2,748 unique nurses, mostly working in general practice, who participated in NPS activities during this time.

“The number of unique pharmacists and intern participants in NPS activities – and the total number of activities completed – has increased steadily over the past five years,” says Dr Weekes.

Case studies were the most popular learning activity amongst pharmacists and interns, with the fact these are now available online meaning they are a convenient and accessible professional development option.

Pharmacy practice reviews and small group case-based discussions were also popular, with a 10% increase in the number of pharmacy practice reviews completed compared to the previous year, again due in part to the release of the first online version of this activity in early 2012.

Another area of improvement was in NPS e-learning resources for health professional students, with a 29% increase in the number of students completing at least one National Prescribing Curriculum module between 2010–11 and 2011–12.

“The findings from our evaluation activities play a pivotal role in ensuring that we maintain the rigour of our work, and that our products and services remain appropriate to the needs of our audiences,” says Dr Weekes.

To read the full ‘NPS MedicineWise Evaluation Report No. 15, 2011-12’, visit


Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS MedicineWise enables better decisions about medicines and medical tests. We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

Media enquiries: Stephanie Childs on 02 8217 8667, 0419 618 365 or