Medication information transfer: An exploratory study in a rural Queensland community
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Background: Inadequate or inaccurate transfer of medication information can challenge optimal medication management. Studies of medication information transfer typically involve the hospital–community interface in urban settings. There is little research on medication information transfer between community health services, between hospitals (rural and metropolitan) and rural community settings. Aim: To explore medication information transfer issues faced by rural healthcare providers and their perspectives on initiatives to optimise the process. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 49 health professionals in 4 towns in rural Queensland on issues surrounding medication supply and management. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically. Results: Some of the issues identified included: discrepancies in medication records, lack of a coordinated system to communicate medication or prescription information between health professionals, and inadequate communication between secondary/tertiary facilities and rural primary care providers. According to the participants, the root causes of these challenges related to workforce issues and inefficiencies in communication and networking systems. Conclusion: Key issues were identified relating to medication information transfer between healthcare providers and between healthcare settings, which impacted on optimal medication management for rural patients.
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