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Controversial caps on home medicine review numbers should be reviewed in the wake of new research that demonstrated HMRs clinical and financial value, a leading clinical pharmacist believes.

A systematic review of 63 Australian studies provides compelling evidence on the benefits of HMRs says Debbie Rigby.

“There should be no more debate by our profession, the medical profession or the Government on the value of HMRs to consumers and the health system,” says Ms Rigby, a consultant clinical pharmacist.

“I think this systematic review should be sufficient evidence for the [government’s proposed] evaluation to ensure the ongoing funding for HMRs throughout the 6CPA and beyond”.

In fact, Ms Rigby says the findings should stimulate discussions to expand the funding for HMRs – with an increase from the current cap of 20 reviews per month per accredited pharmacist, to 20 per week. 

Among the findings from the review are:

  • an overall mean reduction of 3.6 medication-related problems per HMR
  • a 45% reduction in hospitalisations
  • 9.1% reduction in overall medication costs
  • net saving to the health system of $120 per person
  • saving of $240 per patient in average annual costs of medications

“With these proven benefits the HMR program rules and funding should be reviewed sooner rather than later to target HMRs to those most in need and currently underserved (ATSI & CALD populations, palliative care, recent hospital discharge, rural and remote areas, older men and younger people with chronic diseases), to provide additional referral pathways (eg Aboriginal Health Workers) and explore & fund models of collaborative practice between pharmacists and GPs,” she said.

In addition there was data comparing HMRs conducted by general practice pharmacists and post-discharge reviews showing better timeliness and higher rates of recommendation uptake, Ms Rigby says.

There was a $4471 saving in medication costs per year if pharmacist is integrated into a medical practice to perform medication reviews.


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