The Hospital Authority recently launched a pilot programme on Drug Refill Services in Prince of Wales Hospital (PWH) and Tuen Mun Hospital (TMH) in an attempt to enhance patient safety.

"With an ageing population and an increase in patients with chronic illnesses, we see the need to address the drug compliance and safety issues associated with polypharmacy," the HA's Chief Pharmacist, Ms Anna Lee, said.

"Chronic patients, especially the elderly, with multiple drugs prescribed for a prolonged period could easily confuse the drugs and the dosage, besides having problems in storing the large quantity of drugs. The patients' medication profile may also complicated by hospital admissions and cross-specialty consultation before the next Specialist Outpatient Clinic (SOPC) appointment."

The newly introduced Drug Refill Services, E-Fill, split prescriptions into smaller and manageable quantities for patients, with a pharmacist reviewing and reaffirming the latest condition of the patient before each refill. "Special telephone or face-to-face counselling sessions will also be arranged for patients with complex situations, such as in hospital readmission or cross-specialty consultation or when there is a need to adjust the prescriptions,” Lee said.

"Patients will be reminded by telephone calls or short message service three to five days prior to the scheduled refill date, while the medications will be prearranged for the patients to expedite the collection process."

Refill medications can be collected by patients or their carers with Refill Prescription Coupons at designated counters of the two hospitals' 24-hour pharmacy departments.

The pilot programme will be launched in PWH and TMH in January 2018. "Around 20 000 high-risk Medical SOPC patients aged 60 or above have been identified to join the pilot programme. They are typically prescribed with more drug items for an extended period, such as over 16 weeks, until the next consultation," Lee added. The selected patients will be informed and given the prescription slips with refill schedules during their upcoming SOPC consultation sessions.

She remarked that the operation workflow and scope of the programme will be refined during the pilot stage, taking into account patient and professional feedback, with a view to further extending the scope and coverage of the programme to benefit more high-risk patients. MIMS

hospital authority

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