Digital Health CRC project using data to improve medicine selection and dosing accuracy for renal patients

A new $1 million research project to improve medicine selection and dosing for patients suffering renal impairment is underway between Northern Territory (NT) Health, the University of South Australia and the Digital Health CRC.

The project aims to create a clinical decision support tool to help healthcare professionals accurately prescribe medicines for patients with impaired kidney function. The tool will be a standalone service, delivered via an application program interface (API), allowing for easy integration with existing prescribing and/or dispensing software systems.

According to the research team, led by Professor Libby Roughead and Dr Andre Andrade from the University of South Australia, inaccurate medicine selection and dosing for people with poor kidney function is a common and preventable issue. A quarter of people with poor kidney function are on inappropriate medications, suggesting that interventions aimed at primary care prescribing could significantly reduce emergency department admissions.

NT Health’s Executive Director of Medicines Management, Bhavini Patel said the NT Health team are delighted to be undertaking their first project with the DHCRC in partnership with a leading academic team.

“This partnership allows NT Health to continue to build on our artificial intelligence capability, assisting in making healthcare in the Territory smarter, safer and more sustainable,” she said.

“The project will ensure safer prescribing and dispensing of medications for people living with kidney disease and reduce the risk of medication associated renal problems.”

Professor Libby Roughead from the University of South Australia said the proposed digital health solution has the potential to benefit 700,000 older Australians with renal function problems.

“The inappropriate prescription of medications to treat renal impairment contributes to up to 10 per cent of adverse reactions, severe enough to cause hospital admission. A digital solution targeting this problem has the potential to prevent 25,000 medication related admissions annually,” Prof Roughead said.

Digital Health CRC CEO, Dr Terry Sweeney expects this research to also contribute to the digital economy by promoting the use of clinical decision support systems as a service.

“Medication-related problems are responsible for more than 250,000 annual hospital admissions, costing $1.4 billion per year,” Dr Sweeney said.

“The DHCRC is committed to supporting translatable and commercially viable research to alleviate this pressure on our healthcare system and improve the lives of patients.”

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