Reducing Harm and Waste

Healthcare professionals are the stewards of healthcare resources. We know that overuse of investigation and treatment can result in harm to patients. By seeking out and eliminating harm and waste, we can provide healthcare that people really value.

There are a number of initiatives underway that aim to help us reduce harm and waste. For example:

Polypharmacy (use of multiple medicines) can be appropriate or inappropriate, and the key healthcare aim for the individual patient is to ensure the safe and effective use of their multiple medicines. Polypharmacy becomes inappropriate when the medication risks begin to outweigh benefits for an individual patient. The aim of addressing this is to identify those patients at greatest risk of harm and to agree a medication regimen that is tailored to their changing needs and expectations.

The Scottish Polypharmacy guidance aims to support those carrying out comprehensive medication reviews with a conversation with patients and where appropriate, carers and those with power of attorney. These conversations allow the patient to be in control of their care and support joint decision making.

Polypharmacy app

October 8, 2018

‘Polypharmacy’ just means ‘many medications’. It has often been applied to people who take five or more pills for their health conditions. However, polypharmacy is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, people who have had a heart attack often take four different kinds of drugs – to improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure….

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