Australia to support accurate meds prescription for patients with kidney problems

The government-backed Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre has launched a A$1 million (above $700,000) research project that intends to empower accurate prescription of medications for patients dealing with kidney failure.


The research institute, in tandem with the Northern Territory Health and the University of South Australia, will develop this clinical decision support tool for healthcare professionals that will be delivered as a standalone service via an application program interface, making it easy to integrate with existing prescribing or dispensing software systems.

After analysing the context of medicine prescription and dispensing in the first research phase, they will create a renal dosage calculator algorithm based on NT Health’s clinical data sets and other available medicine knowledge databases. In the second phase, they will simulate the impact of the tool in the urban and rural primacy clinics in NT and South Australia. 

The final research phase involves a clinical pilot in NT’s urban and remote primary health care centres and community pharmacy settings. 


Inaccurate medicine selection and dosing for people with impaired kidneys is a “common and preventable issue,” according to the UniSA research team. They noted that about a quarter of patients receive “inappropriate” medications, which in turn contribute to up to a tenth of adverse reactions that could lead to hospital admissions.

“A digital solution targeting this problem has the potential to prevent 25,000 medication-related admissions annually,” said Libby Roughead, a professor at UniSA who also leads the university’s research team. Moreover, medication-related problems account for over 250,000 yearly hospital admissions, costing A$1.4 billion ($1 billion) each year, noted Dr Terry Sweeney, CEO of DHCRC.

About 700,000 Australians over the age of 65 with renal function problems, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, are targeted beneficiaries of the project, according to the DHCRC. It was mentioned that seven in 10 hospitalisations from chronic kidney disease occur among senior Australians while one in five indigenous Australians has shown signs of the disease.

The research project, said Bhavini Patel, executive director of Medicines Management at NT Health, will “ensure safer prescribing and dispensing of medications for people living with kidney disease and reduce the risk of medication associated renal problems”.


Last month, the DHCRC set up a $2.1 million research project that will improve clinical decision support tools across regional and metropolitan hospitals settings in the country. The three-year project aims to enhance the fit between decision support technologies and their users. To achieve this, it will make use of Alcidion’s Miya Precision system to point out priority areas where decision support tools will add value. 

In September, the research firm also launched a project, together with UniSA and SA Health, to create a digital analytics tool that predicts the risk of adverse events in hospitals. It was said that the tool will be used to develop a visual programme that will provide clinicians and administrators with real-time insights describing a hospital’s risk exposure. The project ultimately intends to resolve patient safety issues, such as ramping, suicide prevention, medication and falls incidents.

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