Medicine reviews are proving good for patients and doctors

Just over 12 months ago we announced the appointment of our clinical pharmacist Ms Joanne McMahon. Jo has been working closely with our doctors, nurses and patients at our practices conducting clinical education sessions for our team and for our patients – Better Medicines clinics and Home Medicines Reviews to help their safe, effective use of medicines. The clinical results and feedback from our clinical team and our patients have been impressive.

As we reported last year, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) January 2019 report “Medicine Safety: Take Care” says problems with medications can occur at anytime during their use, including when the decision is made to use a medicine, during dispensing, and while using the medicine. “Use of medications is the most common intervention we make in healthcare, which means that problems with medication use are also common.”

We asked our pharmacist Jo, to reflect on her work with our practice team and our patients – she writes, “It has been over a year since Queen Street Medical Centre welcomed me into the practice. In that time they have supported me to promote the Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) message. I have the privilege of being able to spend time talking in person or on the phone to patients on medicine related issues – we look at their medicines and consider:

1. Right management

Is a medicine needed, or would physiotherapy or counselling be safer & more effective?

2. Right medicine

Is this medicine right for you – for your condition? Does it suit your other conditions and your other medicines? Will it have side effects?

3. Safe use

Is this medicine safe for you, based on your kidney & liver function?

What monitoring needs to happen?

4. Effective use

Is it working? Not all drugs work for everyone.

What is a realistic expectation of the benefit?

 Is it to control symptoms, or to prevent something happening in the future?

I have checked blood results and calculated renal function for hundreds of medicines to ensure that the dose is correct. Patients discharged from hospital who need to understand changes that have been made to their prescribed medicines can be followed up and I can liaise with the patient’s community pharmacy if required.

I have been able to provide education sessions to GPs and nurses on some of the latest medicines. The practice is very keen to be evidence based. Queen Street Medical Centre now has a comprehensive library of patient information resources for those wanting written information on their condition or their medicine/s. “

We’ve been working with Jo developing Living Well our new website feature – here you’ll find engaging, interesting resources to help you understand your condition, your medicines and when to seek help and support. Well continue to add to our online resources so be sure to visit this page to stay up to date.

Our practice was one of four in our region to be granted commonwealth government funding to support the integration of a non-dispensing pharmacist into general practice.