New electronic tool for hospitals

12 May 2011

NPS has launched a new electronic drug use evaluation tool for the discharge management of patients with acute coronary syndromes (DMACS e-DUE). The tool is used to promote adherence to evidence-based guidelines from the National Heart Foundation and Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.

NPS clinical adviser Dr Danielle Stowasser says while evidence-based guidelines exist for the management of patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS), adherence to these remains suboptimal.

“There are many factors involved in the ongoing management of patients with ACS at and following discharge. Issues include medicines management, referrals to cardiac rehabilitation programs and the ongoing education of patients and their carers on the importance of sticking with these plans long-term. This new electronic tool helps hospital staff better manage this process to ensure patients with ACS are receiving the best possible care in a complex health environment.”

The DMACS e-DUE tool is a standalone Windows application that can be easily downloaded and used by hospital pharmacists, nurses, cardiology staff, quality managers and graduates. A summary report of selected quality measures is automatically generated based on best practice guidelines allowing aspects of care which require improvement to be easily identified as part of a quality improvement cycle. A toolkit of educational resources to support the drug use evaluation process is also available online.

The tool was used in the national DMACS project conducted in 2008-09 involving 49 hospital cardiac units. It demonstrated a significant increase in the initiation of long-term ACS management plans and an improvement in prescription of and adherence to guideline-recommended medicines, post-intervention. The project also reported improved outcomes for patient education on lifestyle modifications and an increase in the number of referrals for cardiac rehabilitation for patients with ACS.

“When patients feel supported they are more likely to stick with their treatment plans. This new tool will help ensure optimal care at and following discharge and promote better communication between hospital staff, patients, carers and community health providers,” Dr Stowasser said.

The DMACS e-DUE tool is available now, free of charge, to all hospitals and is one of two hospital e-DUE tools available through NPS, with the acute postoperative pain (APOP) e-DUE tool having been released online in 2009.

This DMACS eDUE audit is accredited by the PSA (category 3 activity) and endorsed by RCNA for continuing education. For further information and to download the tool and online toolkit, visit

During June - July 2011, hospitals can also take part in a nationwide snapshot audit, comparing their results to other hospitals around Australia. To register interest contact Lisa Pulver on


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