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Medication-related harm intervention wins $1.5 million funding

Dr Laetitia Hattingh

A Gold Coast Health team will implement a novel intervention to reduce medication-related harm after securing almost $1.5 million from the Medical Research Future Fund to investigate how to decrease medication-related harm following discharge from hospital.

The team will co-design and implement a structured information handover intervention between hospital and primary care clinicians during transfer from hospital to primary care as part of the study entitled Optimising medicine information handover during transitions of care, which is funded for four years.

Team leader Dr Laetitia Hattingh, from the University of Queensland's School of Pharmacy, said the aim of the study is to improve patient outcomes and reduce avoidable medication-related hospital readmissions by optimising medicine information handover during transition of care.

“We expect outcomes from our multifaceted project will reduce preventable hospital readmissions whilst incorporating a digital solution to strengthen communications between all healthcare stakeholders,” Dr Hattingh said.

There are three strategies as part of the intervention, which will be co-designed with consumers:

  1. During discharge planning there will be an active medicine handover from a hospital pharmacist navigator to the patient’s nominated community pharmacy or GP.
  2. Through established medication management review services, the patient’s medicines will be reconciled at the primary care level.
  3. An innovative digital solution will prompt clinicians throughout the process through asynchronous communication, linking community pharmacists, GPs and patients.

Medication-related harm is a significant public health issue and is an Australian National Health Priority. It’s also the focus of the World Health Organisation’s Third Global Patient Safety Challenge. 

Around 250,000 hospital admissions annually are a direct result of medicines and 400,000 emergency department presentations—the post-hospital discharge period is particularly high risk for patients.

Dr Hattingh said reducing medication-related harm is also a top priority for the Gold Coast Health Communicating for Safety Committee.

“We will address critical gaps in discharge medicine information transfer in an intervention that will be applicable to health services across Queensland, Australia and even internationally, as this is a global issue,” Dr Hattingh said.

“It’s fantastic that we can pursue research into novel interventions from the Gold Coast. I was pleased to secure the grant and am proud of the work of my team that got us here,” Dr Hattingh said.

The team is currently setting up the study and will commence with the co-design phases in 2024.

Research In A Minute - Dr Laetitia Hattingh from Gold Coast Health on Vimeo.

Last updated 26 Jun 2023