Key messages

  • Medication errors are among the most common incidents reported in hospitals and commonly occur at hospital admission.
  • The collaboration between medical officer and pharmacist is a key feature of the PPMC model, as developed by Alfred Health, which allows for better integration of the skills and expertise of pharmacists and other clinicians.
  • A health economic evaluation of the PPMC program was completed by Deakin University, following replication of the PPMC model across seven hospitals in 2016-17 (three metropolitan and two regional health services).
  • The health economic evaluation demonstrates the PPMC model is a safe and effective alternative to traditional medication charting.

Alfred Health piloted the PPMC model in 2015, through a randomised controlled trial. The trial demonstrated reduction in the medication error rate from 35.5 per cent under the standard care model to 0.5 per cent under the PPMC model.

In 2016-17, a replication of the project was undertaken across five health services (seven hospitals), being the largest pharmacy study of this type in Australia.

The health economic evaluation of this replication, conducted by Deakin University, explored impacts of the PPMC model upon patients presenting to emergency departments and being admitted to general medicine wards (n=8,648 patients).

Key outcomes include reduction in the proportion of patients with at least one medication error from 19.2 per cent to 0.5 per cent, and reduction in patient length of stay from 6.5 days to 5.8 days.

Estimated savings per PPMC patient admission was $726. The total hospital cost savings from the replication was $1.95M. All five health services have sustained PPMC operation since funding ceased in June 2017.

The evaluation comprised three parts:

  • a qualitative survey involving 22 focus group interviews with 125 hospital staff capturing experiences and attitudes of pharmacists, doctors, nurses and key informants;
  • an online survey of 172 health professionals to validate qualitative analysis; and
  • an economic evaluation.