Media releases

September 20, 2006

Epworth Eastern hospital leads the way in delivering

Local hospital, Epworth Eastern, in Victoria has been applauded today for its developments in improving quality, safety and clinical outcomes for patients.

The hospital has received a $30,000 grant from the Medibank Private Safety and Clinical Improvement Incentive Pool. The grant was officially received at an event held this morning at the hospital attended by senior hospital and Medibank Private staff.

The incentive pool - totalling more than $900,000 distributed across Australia - was established by Medibank Private to support targeted initiatives aimed at improving quality and safety in private hospitals. It allows the health fund to work with private hospitals, like Epworth Eastern, to reduce the risk of adverse events and encourage innovation and best practice in clinical care in Australian private hospitals.

The Hospital's initiative, titled "Enhancements to an Electronic Medications Management System for Private Hospitals", is a key platform for the Hospital and enhances the ability for treating physicians and nursing staff to view a patient's medication regime on-line in real time to assist in allowing a prescriber to make better informed clinical decisions.

A report published by the US based Advisory Board Company, titled "Computerised Physician Order Entry: Securing Physician Acceptance" details efficiency of electronic medications management systems in reducing medical errors, and enhancing the quality of care. The Advisory Board also reported on a study into the "Quality of Australian Healthcare (1995)", which found that 16.6% of acute admissions resulted in adverse events related largely to medication errors. Many of these events were regarded as 'highly preventable' resulting in an additional 1.7m bed days per annum at a cost in excess of $800m annually.

Dr Peter Hughes, Director at Epworth Eastern stated that "A digital medications management system has enabled the Hospital to improve overall legibility of drug charts, provide enhanced decision support tools and immediacy of data which significantly assists the Hospital to control the potential for an adverse medication event. Every script in the Hospital is reviewed by a clinical pharmacist prior to dispensation which provides a high level of safety audit for patients.

"The next steps we take with the system will be geared around improving the layout of the drug chart on screen, the development of an application to allow the prescription of complex infusions, and an ability to allow pre-admission drugs to be loaded, thus saving time and promoting further efficiencies."

"Medibank's incentive pool allows us to work with hospitals to improve clinical outcomes. We want better health outcomes for our members and the incentive pool forces us to do more than just talk about improving quality and safety," said Medibank Private's National Hospital Manager, Russell Bateman.

"We are assisting hospitals to be more innovative, to lift the bar on current standards.

"It's simple really - we want the best health outcomes for our members, we asked hospitals how they could do this, they told us and we are helping them make it a reality."

FACTS ABOUT THE MEDIBANK PRIVATE SAFETY AND CLINICAL IMPROVEMENT INCENTIVE POOL:

� $900,000 in funds was made available in 2006 for programs, initiatives and research to improve quality and safety in hospitals across Australia.
� 34 hospitals were successful in their application
� Total value of approved proposals is $907,488
� Major areas of innovation of applications included:
 Falls prevention and management
 Improving management of medication
 Discharge and re-admission planning
 Improving patient communication and education
� A pool of $1 million will be available for distribution in 2007.


ENDS

For further information please contact:
Libby Woolnough - Medibank Private
T. (03) 8622 5181 or 0401 659 060
E. libby_woolnough@medibank.com.au


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