Quality use of medicines
SA Health is committed to improving the quality use of medicines (QUM) in South Australia with the goal of providing access to quality, safe, complete and affordable health care for all South Australians.
QUM involves improving medicine use, including prescription, non-prescription and complementary medicines, by health professionals and decision makers as well as by consumers and the medicines industry. QUM is a focus of the National Medicines Policy, which describes QUM as:
- selecting management options wisely
- choosing suitable medicines if a medicine is considered necessary; and
- ensuring the patients and carers have the knowledge and skills to use medicines safely and effectively
- the definition of QUM applies equally to decisions about medicine use by individuals and decisions that affect the health of the population.
Online eLearning and other resources for QUM, continuity of care, continuity in medication management and medication safety are available.
SA Health QUM activities
- optimising QUM along the continuum of care by building improvements in continuity in medication management achieved as a result of pharmaceutical reform in public hospitals.
- improving QUM in the short-term treatment of acute pain.
- improving consumer medicines literacy to empower consumers in medicines management.
SA Health statewide medicines committees
SA Health has a statewide approach to the governance of medicines through a framework of SA Health statewide medicines committees. These committees ensure a coordinated, systematic, evidence-based approach to decision-making to promote consistency of medicines policy, equity of access to medicines, improved patient safety, Quality Use of Medicines, and optimal resource allocation.
Local Health Network (LHN) and hospital-based committees
Hospitals and LHNs are engaged in a range of ongoing QUM activities including medicines evaluation, medication safety, antimicrobial stewardship, implementation of the pharmaceutical reforms and project QUM activities.
All SA public hospitals are associated with a Drug and Therapeutics Committee (DTC) or similar committee, which plays an active role in the consideration and oversight of medicines issues at either a hospital or LHN level: Current SA Health DTCs include:
- Central Adelaide LHN Drug and Therapeutics Committee
- Country Health SA LHN Drug and Therapeutics Committee
- Northern Adelaide LHN Drug and Therapeutics Committee
- Southern Adelaide LHN Drug and Therapeutics Committee
- Women’s and Children’s Health Network Drug and Therapeutics Advisory Committee.
In addition, many DTCs have a medication safety sub-committee with the specific remit of considering issues relating to medication safety.
South Australian organisations
- Drug and Therapeutics Information Service (DATIS) – undertakes a range of QUM activities in SA, predominately involving the provision of clinical pharmacy services to General Practitioners. Contact: 08 7425 8444)
- South Australia Primary Health Networks
- Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre (UniSA) - uses a collaborative to improve the use of medicines and health outcomes in Australia and internationally through research and consultancy.
- Health Consumers’ Alliance of SA (HCASA)
- Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF)
- Council of the Ageing (COTA) - SA
- Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care - a government agency established by the Commonwealth, with the support of State and Territory governments to lead and coordinate national improvements in safety and quality in health care across Australia.
- Council of Australian Therapeutic Advisory Groups (CATAG) - an authoritative, expert, consensus-based collaboration of representatives from all Australian State and Territory Therapeutic Advisory Groups or their jurisdictional committee equivalents.
- National Prescribing Service - provides resources to enable people to make better decisions about medicines and medical tests, leading to better health and economic outcomes.
- Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) – the peak national professional pharmacy organisation representing all of Australia´s pharmacists working in all sectors and locations.
For more information about SA Health QUM initiatives please contact Office of the Chief Pharmacist on: