A medicine can only help if you take it – increasing anticoagulant safety at emergency department discharge

Melbourne’s Austin Health has implemented a new system to manage the dangers associated with discharging patients from Emergency Departments with anticoagulant medication.

In a presentation at the National Medicines Symposium (NMS) virtual event, being held today with theme ‘Rising to the Medication Safety Challenge’, Mr Andrew Harding from Austin Health described an IT solution implemented in their hospital to ensure patient follow-up by a clinical pharmacist after discharge with an anticoagulant.

“Anticoagulants are high risk medicines, and it is important that a patient receives education about their new medicines when they are discharged,” explains Mr Harding.

“A patient discharged after a pulmonary embolism needs prompt anticoagulation to prevent the risk of serious complications and potentially even death so it’s important they understand the urgency of taking the medication and do not delay after they leave hospital.

“At our tertiary referral centre in metropolitan Melbourne, we introduced an IT solution that issues alerts in our electronic medical record system and sends emails to notify pharmacists that a patient follow-up is required. Since the introduction of the system, we have seen 100% patient follow-up and no reported clinical incidents.

“This simple change has made a big difference to patient care,” he said.

This is a practical example of how real-world solutions are being developed to address medication safety issues in the Australian health system. This approach has the potential to be imported to other clinical settings.

At the National Medicines Symposium held today, health professionals across Australia are sharing their work and discussing medication safety – a National Health Priority and focus of the World Health Organization Global Patient Safety Challenge: ‘Medication Without Harm’.

About the National Medicines Symposium

Hosted by NPS MedicineWise, the annual National Medicines Symposium (NMS) brings together the most influential organisations, individuals and decision makers in the health sector to discuss and debate key issues around quality use of medicines and health technologies, and to encourage collective impact with a focus on the needs of the consumer.

The theme for NMS 2020 is ‘Rising to the medication safety challenge’, in the context of medicines safety recently being named a National Health Priority Area and it also being the focus of the 3rd World Health Organization Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medication Without Harm.

The NMS 2020 program is available at www.nps.org.au/nms2020


    Media contact

    David Walsh, Austin Health: (03) 9496 6671, 0409 571 580 or [email protected]