Managing medicines: Medicines optimisation

Last updated: Friday, June 22, 2018

Medicines optimisation is about ensuring that the right patient gets the right medicine at the right time. It’s a very important concept that aims to improve patient outcomes, and it must be at the core of your role as a hospital pharmacist.

Amongst other things, successful medicines optimisation means that patients must have access to the medicines they need. But they must also take them safely, when indicated, and be monitored for their response to therapy. Medicines optimisation means not wasting medicines, as well as helping patients to avoid unnecessary medicines.

Medicines optimisation is focused on ensuring that patients get the best from their medication. And for this to be effective, pharmacists must adopt a multidisciplinary approach: working with other health professionals, carers, and patients themselves, to put patients first.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has helped to lead our approach to medicines optimisation. Working with other organisations, it has produced a short guide called Medicines Optimisation – Helping patients to make the most of medicines. This report highlights some major principles of medicines optimisation which have been summarised in the diagram below:


Medicines optimisation: helping people get the most from their medicines is an e-learning programme that considers what medicines optimisation is, and allows you to plan your own development so you can practice it routinely to improve outcomes for your patients.

NICE has produced a guideline that looks at the evidence behind interventions that may facilitate medicines optimisation such as patient decision aids and communication systems. It describes medicines optimisation as the safe and effective use of medicines to enable the best possible outcomes.

You should also be aware of the World Health Organisation's Medication Without Harm global initiative. This aims to reduce medication-related harm by improving practices and reducing medication errors.


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