Healthscope and Bupa target medication safety

‘Always Events’ partnership continues quality, patient-first health and care collaboration

Healthscope and Bupa have today announced a new partnership to tackle the issue of medication-related hospital readmissions through a program that will identify and then support high-risk patients during and following their discharge from hospital.

The ‘Always Events’ partnership commits Healthscope, Australia’s largest provider of integrated healthcare, and Bupa, Australia’s largest health insurer, to delivering the aspects of care that a patient should always receive for an optimal health outcome, beginning with medication management.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, which has identified improving the safety and quality of medication usage in Australia as one of its priorities, estimates that 12% of all medical admissions to hospital are medication related. This number increases to between 20–30% for patients aged over 65-years.

To address this issue, Bupa patients at Healthscope hospitals will be assessed for their risk of experiencing medication-related issues. If identified as high-risk, the patient will be offered a program of medication education as well as the opportunity to receive automated alerts and script fill reminders through a free MedAdvisor account; home support calls from a telehealth coach who will facilitate ongoing medication literacy and adherence education; and post-discharge follow-up to the patient’s GP.

MedAdvisor medication software uses internet and mobile phone technology to provide patients with a tool that ensures they use medication safely, effectively and on-time; resulting in an improvement of up to 20% for medication adherence.

Robert Cooke, Healthscope Managing Director and CEO, said: “Always Events are the important, non-negotiable elements of healthcare that should always occur for all patients.

“The initial focus of this agreement is on improving medicine use, with a program to provide end-to-end medication support for high-risk patients.

“Our responsibility does not end on discharge – our patients will receive continued assistance with their understanding and use of medication which will also help reduce readmissions.

“With half the population holding private health insurance, coupled with the steady increase in private hospital demand, the provision of quality, patient-first healthcare has never been more important,” added Mr Cooke.

Dr. Dwayne Crombie, Managing Director of Bupa Health Insurance, agreed pointing to the current government, industry and healthcare provider focus on better integrating and coordinating the health system.

“This agreement is an example of how the private sector is taking action to improve the coordination of the health system and ultimately provide better patient care,” said Dr Crombie.

“At a time when system waste and inefficiencies are rightly being scrutinised, this is an approach that makes sense for everybody – consumers, hospitals, insurers and the broader health system all win when patients receive a quality outcome – not just a service.

“Collaboration remains the key to targeting the health system’s issues and we look forward to working with Healthscope to expand the Always Events approach across further aspects of patients’ care.”

The Always Events medication program will initially run throughout Sunnybank Private in Queensland, Norwest Private in New South Wales, Como Private in Victoria and Darwin Private in the Northern Territory.

The Always Events agreement between Healthscope and Bupa is part of the companies’ ‘Pay for Quality’ funding platform which was developed in 2014 and rewards Healthscope for providing better healthcare outcomes in clinical quality and safety.

In 2013, the ‘Never Events’ initiative was launched, with Healthscope agreeing to forego payment if a Bupa member experienced a clearly identifiable and preventable treatment error, with learnings from any errors also shared among Healthscope hospitals and with Bupa.

Bupa and Healthscope will continue to explore further Always Events initiatives that can be introduced as they continue to partner in delivering quality, patient-first healthcare.