A Quality Use of Medicines program for continuity of care in therapeutics from hospital to community

Andrea Mant, Nicole L Cockayne, Linda Kehoe, Karen I Kaye and Wendy C Rotem
Med J Aust 2002; 177 (1): 32-34.


Objective: To evaluate adherence to an agreed minimum dataset for patient medication information exchange between hospitals and general practitioners.

Design: Quasi pre–post design with a supplementary post-program comparison group; sequential descriptive surveys of patients following recent discharge from public hospitals; opinion questionnaire for key hospital informants; stakeholder forum to review data and Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) action plans between pre- and post-program surveys.

Participants and setting: GPs and hospitals from the South East Area Health Service, Sydney. During 2000–2001, 81/124 GPs (65%) returned 147 patient questionnaires in initial follow-up; 88/119 GPs (74%) returned 131 questionnaires in final follow-up; a supplementary group of 54/120 GPs (45%) returned 66 questionnaires; 32/45 (71%) of nominated key informants responded to the hospital survey.

Results: Direct notification of GPs by hospitals of their patient's admission was unchanged from the initial level of 22%. The proportion of GPs providing medication information to the hospital increased from 38% to 51% at Stage 2 (P < 0.05) and remained at 52% at Stage 3. The proportion of GPs receiving discharge summaries directly (initially 2%) increased to 26% at Stage 2 (P < 0.001) and remained at 27% at Stage 3.

Conclusions: System change is slow to occur, but changes that are implemented are maintained. The stakeholder forum suggested that a specific person should be responsible for GP liaison.

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  • Andrea Mant1
  • Nicole L Cockayne2
  • Linda Kehoe3
  • Karen I Kaye4
  • Wendy C Rotem5

  • 1 Quality Use of Medicines Services, South East Sydney Area Health Service, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Total Research, Sydney, NSW.
  • 3 NSW Therapeutic Assessment Group Inc., Sydney, NSW.
  • 4 Health Services Project Management, Sydney, NSW.



In addition to the authors the Area-GP QUM Continuity Project Team included Gary Franks, Sylvia Jacobson, Lynette Lee, Errol Kaplan, Phillip Lye, David Newman, Ven Tan, and RO Day.

Competing interests:

None declared.

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