Activating pharmacists to reduce medication related problems

The ACTMed stepped wedge cluster randomized trial (SW-CRT)

In Australia, 250,000 hospital admissions and 400,000 emergency presentations each year are due to potentially preventable medicine-related problems. This costs the healthcare system around $1.4 billion each year and it has been estimated that half of these events could be prevented.

ACTMed is a whole-of-system approach that aims to refocus medicine safety as a proactive and team-based process through enhanced collaboration between people attending general practice, pharmacists, GPs, and other health practitioners. ACTMed is a quality improvement activity that uses innovative IT solutions and an interactive real-time dashboard, combined with economic incentives, to activate pharmacists to work with GPs in both mainstream practices and in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs). The aim is to reduce risks of medicine-related harm, reduce healthcare costs, enhance person-centred care, and streamline practitioner workflows.

Profile photo of Dr Jean Spinks

“Many medicine-related problems are avoidable. We are excited to collaborate with experts in pharmacy, general practice, health economics, digital technologies, data management and healthcare delivery to design and deliver this trial. This is an excellent opportunity to make our healthcare system more efficient and improve health outcomes.” Dr Jean Spinks

This is the first Australian trial to develop and test an integrated, proactive, and targeted medicines safety service for primary care. Trial results will inform the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of using digitally enabled solutions to reduce MRPs, consistent with the quality improvement framework already implemented in Primary Health Networks (PHNs) nationwide. It will also inform the feasibility of revised workflows between pharmacists and GPs, and future remuneration models required to address current challenges for pharmacists working closely with primary care practices. Further, it will inform the acceptability to clients of proactively identifying medicine-safety issues, including preferred modes of communication and involvement of health care practitioners.