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New Report Shows Significant Variation in Medication Prescribing Depending on Where Patient Hospitalised

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Victorian Agency for Health Information (VAHI) released a report – Delivering better cardiac outcomes in Victoria – based on analysis of just over 44,000 Victorians hospitalised for Atrial Fibrillation (AF – a type of heart arrhythmia) or Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI – heart attack) between 2011–13.

The report was developed by VAHI in collaboration with Centre for Big Data Research in Health, UNSW Sydney, Safer Care Victoria, and the Cardiac Clinical Network of the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation, as part of an initiative under the National Data Linkage Demonstration Project (NDLDP). The NDLDP brings together over 7 billion records of health data for over 10 million individuals from NSW and Victoria over 5 years in a linked database.

This is the first time in Australia that patients’ de-identified hospital data was linked with the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This allowed for the medications patients were prescribed upon discharge from hospital to be matched with what they were dispensed in the months following discharge.

The data show that there was a significant variation in medication prescribing depending on where the patient was hospitalised. The report highlights a previously un-recognised opportunity among Victoria’s health services to improve cardiac care and provides clinicians with information that they can act on. It indicates that routine assessment of prescriptions against best practice guidelines at hospital discharge could be used to reduce risks of further complications for both AF and AMI.

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