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Hutt Valley District Health Board Tuesday 01 June 2010, 10:53am
Media relealse from Hutt Valley District Health Board The New Zealand Universal List of Medicines (NZULM) was launched today by the Associate Minister of Health Hon Peter Dunne.Speaking at the Hutt Valley District Health Board today, the Minister said: "This is an important milestone for Actioning Medicines New Zealand and an important component in improving patient safety in the prescribing and dispensing of medications." Actioning Medicines New Zealand is the action plan for Medicines New Zealand - the New Zealand medicines strategy. "Having a universal list of medicines will make medication management more straight-forward and result in safer and faster services to New Zealanders".It is a little known fact that currently there are several different lists and schedules of medications that are used for prescribing, what is approved for use in New Zealand, what is subsidised by the Government, and what is dispensed to patients. The use of these different lists and schedules can cause confusion for doctors and pharmacists, and ultimately patients."The NZULM will help prevent misunderstandings and confusion about medicines during the management and transfer of patient care." says Paul Cressey, Chairperson for the NZULM project steering group. The NZULM is a continuously updated dictionary of essential and practical information about medicines for doctors, pharmacists, nurses and another professionals working with medicines. It complements but does not change the role of Medsafe or PHARMAC. It also complements the range on medicines information resources available in the sector today. The NZULM is being released for an evaluation period prior to general release. Preparing the NZULM for evaluation release has been a major undertaking. Information on thousands of medicines has been gathered, recorded and checked against international standards, a first for New Zealand. More will be added during the evaluation period. "The development of the NZULM, through the Hutt Valley District Health Board and the national Safe Medication Management Programme is a significant foundation of the recently released draft National Health IT Plan" said Graeme Osborne, Director of the National IT Health Board.The NZULM is the first of a number of phases building up to the NZ Medicines Formulary, a much more complete information system (including clinical information about medicines) that will eventually be the first and easiest reference for doctors, pharmacists and all
other health workers. The NZULM can be viewed at www.nzulm.org.nz website and will NZULM will also be integrated into prescribing and dispensing systems and other medicines information systems and resources.
About the NZULMThe NZULM addresses a number of known issues including:* Prescribers, pharmacists and others professionals working with medicines are using different medicines lists (paper and electronic) from a variety of sources.* No sector wide approach to pharmaceutical descriptions and coding in New Zealand.* Multiple parties are aggregating commonly used information about medicines (and devices).The issues contribute to:* Avoidable prescribing, dispensing and administration errors which affect patient safety and quality of care.* Inefficient business and/or clinical processes* Duplicated effort and cost in creating, disseminating, maintaining and supporting multiple lists.* Limitation with electronic decision support.* Difficulty getting reliable of data for clinical, administrative, governance and planning purposes.* Challenges advancing key sector strategies such as Actioning Medicines New Zealand, Safe Medication Management and other ePharmacy initiatives or optimising the outcomes of these initiatives.The NZULM is a dictionary of authoritative and standardised information about medicines covering registerable medicines approved for supply in New Zealand, any products listed in the Pharmaceutical Schedule which fall outside of this category, and unapproved products supplied under Section 29 of the Medicines Act, 1981 (commonly referred to as a Section 29 medicines). It will be extended over time to include complementary medicines.The NZULM supports eHealth initiatives such as ePrescribing, the NZ Medicine Formulary for decision support and a NZ Product Catalogue.At its heart is the medicines terminology. Medicines are described and coded using the SNOMED CT international standards for medicines terminology. It forms the common language and is the foundation upon which information from Medsafe and PHARMAC is attached.The NZULM information includes:* Generic medicine names with cross-referencing to the product brands along with information on strength, form (e.g. tablets, lotion etc), and pack size (from the New Zealand Medicines Terminology)* Sponsor, legal classification, approved datasheet and consumer medicine information for a medicine (from Medsafe)* Subsidy information, if any (from PHARMAC)* Availability and
product code information (from sector product cataloguesNZULM information is continuously updated under strict quality assurance processes. It is free to use and can be accessed through this website and will also be available through participating software systems.Importantly, there is no change to the roles of Medsafe, PHARMAC, the Pharmacy Guild who produce information related to medicines. This also applies to those provides of medicines reference information sources in common use today. In fact it complements the work that they do by providing pre-compiled standardised information and avoids the need for everyone to be doing this of their own accord.The NZULM is being released for evaluation shortly and will be evaluated for 3 months. Information on thousands of medicines has been gathered, recorded and checked. The NZULM now contains almost all of the medicines commonly prescribed in NZ along with an increasing number of over the counter (OTC) products and Section 29 medicines. More are being added daily.The purpose of the evaluation release is to test the NZULM, both the information and the system. In particular we need to be sure the information is fit for purpose and clinically safe. During the evaluation period we will also work with vendors on the integration of the NZULM into their respective systems. A number of early adopters have been identified.BackgroundMedicines New Zealand - the New Zealand medicines strategy (MNZ) was released in December 2007. The aim of MNZ is to provide an overarching policy direction aligning the medicines sector and the systems that govern the regulation, procurement, management and use of medicines.MNZ identifies three outcomes for the New Zealand medicines system: Quality, Safety and Efficacy, Access and Optimal Use. Importantly, it was always envisaged that the actions to deliver on MNZ outcomes will occur across the medicines sector and by a range of agencies. Actioning Medicines New Zealand is the action plan for MNZ. More information is available at http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/indexmh/actioningmedicines-nz.Budget 2008, "Investing in the Medicine Sector", allocated funding from FY2008/09 ongoing for the development of a New Zealand Medicines Formulary (NZMF). The NZMF is intended to be a core medicines information resource across the New Zealand health system, and to be used as "one-stop shop" and first reference source for prescribers, dispensers and those administering medicines in both primary and secondary care.The NZMF supports the MNZ outcomes by contributing to safe consistent practice and quality improvement. It does this through standardised and evidence based
information about medicines, effective decision support, and ensuring that the same medicines information and guidance is used across service areas. This supports SMM and other ePharmacy initiatives such as ePrescribing, electronic medicine charts and electronic medication histories.Closely linked to MNZ is the Safe Medication Management programme (SMM), one of the five focus areas of the National Quality Improvement Programme. The SMM programme is led by Hutt Valley District Health Board (HVDHB) on behalf of the 21 District Health Boards.In 2009 the Ministry of Health in conjunction with the SMM Programme, PHARMAC, Medsafe and the Pharmacy Guild started a project to develop and implement phase 1 of an online medicines dictionary for New Zealand, also known as the NZ Universal List of Medicines (NZULM). The NZULM is the foundation of the NZMF. The NZMF builds on the NZULM by adding clinical information (information about indications, contraindications, interactions, prescriber guidelines etc) to create an electronic clinical decision support tool.Completion of the NZULM addresses a core dependency for MNZ, SMM and other ePharmacy initiatives.
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