$2m cru­sade tar­gets treat­ment mis­takes

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health - Clara Pi­rani Med­i­cal re­porter

MED­IBANK Private is spend­ing $2 mil­lion on mea­sures to re­duce med­i­ca­tion er­rors and pre­vent ad­verse events in al­most 60 private hos­pi­tals.

The projects were de­vel­oped to pre­vent falls, re­duce hospi­tal-ac­quired in­fec­tions and ad­dress ad­verse events in an at­tempt to im­prove pa­tient care — and cut the cost of treat­ing pa­tients re­quir­ing on­go­ing care be­cause some­thing went wrong while they were in hospi­tal.

‘‘ The amount of money we spend on th­ese in­cen­tives is hope­fully only a small por­tion of costs that we save,’’ Med­ibank Private man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Ge­orge Sav­vides. ‘‘ One fig­ure that has been around sug­gests that about $2 bil­lion is wasted on ad­verse events from er­rors, in­fec­tion and read­mis­sions. Th­ese projects will en­sure bet­ter health out­comes for all pa­tients.’’

Private hos­pi­tals are in­vited to de­velop pro­grams they be­lieve will im­prove pa­tient safety and ap­ply to Med­ibank Private for fund­ing to trial them.

Med­ibank Private is cur­rently re­view­ing re­sults of the first ini­tia­tives tri­alled in 35 hos­pi­tals last year.

‘‘ We see this as a long-term ini­tia­tive that will ben­e­fit the hospi­tal op­er­a­tor and pa­tients,’’ Sav­vides said.

The in­cen­tive scheme, now in its sec­ond year, at­tracted a 50 per cent in­crease in ap­pli­ca­tions from last year, with 120 hos­pi­tals ap­ply­ing.

Last year St Vin­cent and Mercy Private Hospi­tal in Vic­to­ria was granted $30,000 to run a pro­gram aimed at re­duc­ing ad­verse med­i­ca­tion er­rors.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Martin Day says the pro­gram pro­vided hospi­tal staff with ev­i­dence of what mea­sure could re­duce med­i­ca­tion er­rors and limit ad­verse re­ac­tions.

‘‘ The med­i­ca­tion safety project looked at ways to iden­tify pa­tients who were at risk of ex­po­sure to a med­i­ca­tion er­ror. That might be pa­tients with some form of de­men­tia, or pa­tients who took a large num­ber of med­i­ca­tions for var­i­ous con­di­tions.’’

Day says a se­ries of mea­sures was tri­alled, in­clud­ing the use of elec­tronic pre­scrib­ing soft­ware and bar­cod­ing pa­tients to make sure they were give the cor­rect med­i­ca­tion.

‘‘ The med­i­ca­tion safety pro­gram has been com­ple­mented and im­ple­mented and we have seen im­prove­ments. Pa­tients were given a wrist band with a bar­code that could be swiped to link them to their med­i­ca­tion charts, to match them to their med­i­ca­tion.

‘‘ We also looked at elec­tronic pre­scrib­ing

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