Medicinewise interventions deliver positive changes in primary care

5 August 2013

NPS MedicineWise programs targeting quality use of medicines in cardiovascular management have improved prescribing and cardiovascular disease management in primary care, according to a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) today.

The study was conducted by Dr Svetla Gadzhanova and Professor Elizabeth Roughead from the University of South Australia with Mr Mark Bartlett, former Team Leader, Impact and Outcome Evaluation, NPS MedicineWise.

It concluded that NPS MedicineWise cardiovascular interventions delivered between 2002 and 2009 were associated with significant improvements in medicine utilisation and diagnostic test use in cardiovascular management.

According to the study’s authors, quality use of medicines programs like those implemented by NPS MedicineWise as an initiative of the National Medicines Policy have the potential to improve Australia’s medicines use and healthcare environment.

“NPS MedicineWise programs use an effective mix of written educational materials and a range of active interventions such as one-on-one educational visits, clinical audits and case studies,” say the authors.

“We evaluated the impact of these interventions on the use of medicines and medical tests for cardiovascular management over eight years and found consistent changes in prescribing and professional practice that are potentially very important when hundreds of patients are affected.”

The research evaluated the impact of four objectives of the NPS MedicineWise cardiovascular management interventions.

Using the Department of Veterans’ Affairs health claims database, the authors established time series from 2002-2010 to evaluate the effect of the NPS interventions on prescribing and medical service use.

“Of the four areas evaluated in this study, each was associated with improvement in practice at 6 to 12 months after the most recent intervention, and three of the four areas showed a sustained improvement in care month on month,” say the authors

“We found that over half of the population with prior hospitalisation for atrial fibrillation received warfarin or aspirin treatment; an increasing number of patients received aspirin treatment following an ischemic stroke event; echocardiography was requested before diagnosis of heart failure for one in five persons; and 11 per cent of patients with heart failure were given low-dose spironolactone.

“On the whole, the suite of interventions in primary care was effective in improving health professional practice, providing consistent changes in prescribing, and cardiovascular disease management.”

NPS MedicineWise CEO, Dr Lynn Weekes, says the study highlights how effective quality use of medicines interventions contribute to improved economic and health outcomes across Australia.

“This year around 14,000 GPs and 6000 pharmacists will participate in educational activities run by NPS MedicineWise,” says Dr Weekes.

“With a broad reach across a range of therapeutic areas, these programs improve the health of all Australians by promoting safe, wise and judicious prescribing and dispensing practice as well as appropriate medical test referrals in primary care.”


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.

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