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Medication safety focus of new UQ-PAH research


The University of Queensland (UQ) is embarking on innovative research to mitigate the risk of medication-related harm among inpatients and individuals transitioning from the hospital to their homes.

Led by Dr Nazanin Ghahreman-Falconer from UQ’s School of Pharmacy, this research initiative is partnering with Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) and leveraging digital hospital technologies to revolutionise medication management for inpatients, ultimately reducing the likelihood of rehospitalisation due to medication-related issues.

“Rehospitalisation is a pressing health challenge – in Queensland alone up to 25 per cent of adult patients are re-admitted to hospital within 28 days,” emphasised Dr Ghahreman-Falconer.

Discharge from the hospital can leave patients vulnerable and medication-related confusion can result in severe complications such as falls, bleeding, and the need for rehospitalisation.

Nearly 90 per cent of patients experience changes in their medication regimen during their hospital stay, which can lead to complications if not effectively communicated to patients, their general practitioners, specialists, or primary care providers.

Aside from the detrimental impact on patients, rehospitalisation places a substantial burden on the healthcare system. The goal of this research initiative is to identify effective solutions to this pressing issue.

Dr Ghahreman-Falconer is collaborating with Associate Professor Michael Barras from PAH on the RECARD Study, which employs predictive modelling to prevent rehospitalisation after heart attacks. The study aims to develop digital tools to assist clinicians in identifying cardiac patients at the highest risk of being readmitted to the hospital due to medication-related harm.

The primary focus of this endeavour is on the most vulnerable patients, including enhanced support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals.

“The first phase is consulting with community stakeholders on a prediction model to identify people at risk of rehospitalisation, as well as development of a toolkit to deliver tailored medication management and support when patients are discharged,” Dr Ghahreman-Falconer explained.

Another project in collaboration with PAH utilises hospital data and artificial intelligence to identify patients at risk of medication-related harm, enabling early and targeted intervention during their hospitalisation.

“In previous research we developed a model for dosing high-risk medications such as heparin, commonly used to treat blood clotting, but is challenging to dose accurately. We are now working on developing an app embedded in the hospital’s electronic systems to help guide doctors when prescribing intravenous heparin,” Dr. Ghahreman-Falconer revealed.

These innovative tools empower clinicians to work more efficiently and provide timely care to those who need it most, ultimately leading to improved and safer health outcomes for patients.

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Ritchelle is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel, Australia’s premier resource of information for healthcare.


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