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Implementation and evaluation of a multisite drug usage evaluation program across Australian hospitals - a quality improvement initiative

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Author(s): Pulver Lisa | Wai Angela | Maxwell David | Robertson Marion | Riddell Steven

Journal: BMC Health Services Research
ISSN 1472-6963

Volume: 11;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 206;
Date: 2011;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background With the use of medicines being a broad and extensive part of health management, mechanisms to ensure quality use of medicines are essential. Drug usage evaluation (DUE) is an evidence-based quality improvement methodology, designed to improve the quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of drug use. The purpose of this paper is to describe a national DUE methodology used to improve health care delivery across the continuum through multi-faceted intervention involving audit and feedback, academic detailing and system change, and a qualitative assessment of the methodology, as illustrated by the Acute Postoperative Pain Management (APOP) project. Methods An established methodology, consisting of a baseline audit of inpatient medical records, structured patient interviews and general practitioner surveys, followed by an educational intervention and follow-up audit, is used. Australian hospitals, including private, public, metropolitan and regional, are invited to participate on a voluntary basis. De-identified data collected by hospitals are collated and evaluated nationally to provide descriptive comparative analyses. Hospitals benchmark their practices against state and national results to facilitate change. The educational intervention consists of academic detailing, group education, audit and feedback, point-of-prescribing prompts and system changes. A repeat data collection is undertaken to assess changes in practice. An online qualitative survey was undertaken to evaluate the APOP program. Qualitative assessment of hospitals' perceptions of the effectiveness of the overall DUE methodology and changes in procedure/prescribing/policy/clinical practice which resulted from participation were elicited. Results 62 hospitals participated in the APOP project. Among 23 respondents to the evaluation survey, 18 (78%) reported improvements in the documentation of pain scores at their hospital. 15 (65%) strongly agreed or agreed that participation in APOP directly resulted in increased prescribing of multimodal analgesia for pain relief in postoperative patients. Conclusions This national DUE program has facilitated the engagement and participation of a number of acute health care facilities to address issues relating to quality use of medicine. This approach has been perceived to be effective in helping them achieve improvements in patient care.
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