[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study aimed to quantify and compare the prevalence of simple prescribing errors made by clinicians in the first 24 hours of a general medical patient's hospital admission. Four public or private acute care hospitals across Australia and New Zealand each audited 200 patients' drug charts. Patient demographics, pharmacist review and pre-defined prescribing errors were recorded. At least one simple error was present on the medication charts of 672/715 patients, with a linear relationship between the number of medications prescribed and the number of errors (r = 0.571, p < 0.001). The four sites differed significantly in the prevalence of different types of simple prescribing errors. Pharmacists were more likely to review patients aged > or = 75 years (39.9% vs 26.0%; p < 0.001) and those with more than 10 drug prescriptions (39.4% vs 25.7%; p < 0.001). Patients reviewed by a pharmacist were less likely to have inadequate documentation of allergies (13.5% vs 29.4%, p < 0.001). Simple prescribing errors are common, although their nature differs from site to site. Clinical pharmacists target patients with the most complex health situations, and their involvement leads to improved documentation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Medical Assessment Units (MAUs) provide an opportunity for multidisciplinary staff to manage recently admitted acutely unwell patients with complex medical illnesses. We propose concerted development of robust mechanisms for identifying and managing patients whose condition is unstable as they move through hospital departments. Track, trigger and response (TTR) systems (eg, medical emergency team calls and early warning scores) have been introduced to hospital practice, but evidence for their effectiveness is, so far, incomplete. The current variation in TTR systems within and between hospitals impairs intersite comparisons. A range of outcome measures, including risk of physiological deterioration, mortality and projected hospital length of stay, could be usefully investigated by future intersite collaborative research. More deliberate, systematic, evidence-based design of "response" in TTR systems may help in identifying patients who need early attention from skilled medical staff. We need more uniform TTR systems, more research on TTR systems and more multisite research; MAUs are ideally situated to address this important area.
The Medical journal of Australia 06/2011; 194(11):596-8. · 4.09 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increasing numbers of patients are presenting for unscheduled medical admission to hospitals worldwide, prompting clinical redesign of "front-door" emergency medical services. In the United Kingdom, there has been considerable investment in the establishment of acute medical units (AMUs) and the training of acute medicine physicians. Some centres in Australia have established similar medical assessment units. While these initiatives have undoubtedly met with some success, the evidence base for their overall benefit remains elusive. We describe key aspects of the recent establishment of acute medical services in Britain and discuss the relevance of these experiences to Australia. Successful models of care in acute medicine have often been shared with other centres. The adaptation of existing models of care to meet local demands is superior to simply adopting an existing model. Once the desired clinical functionality of a service is determined, informed decisions can be made on staffing requirements, skill mix, and the structure of any new clinical unit. The functionality of the acute medical service, rather than simply the physicality of an AMU, should drive service design.
The Medical journal of Australia 08/2010; 193(4):227-8. · 4.09 Impact Factor