The following announcement appeared a day or so ago.
NEHTA announces the availability of Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT) Release 2.11
28 May 2010
AMT Statement of Purpose
The Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT) has been developed to be fit for the purpose of unambiguously identifying for clinicians and computer systems, all Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) identified 'Registrable' medicines marketed in Australia, and is therefore available to be represented in acute sector clinical information systems for the following activities:
• Communication of the above in a Discharge Summary
While systems developers and end users might choose to deploy AMT or information generated from AMT enabled systems for purposes other than those described, no assessment with regards to fitness for purpose has been made by NEHTA.
NEHTA Announces the Availability of Australian Medicines Terminology Release 2.11
The latest update, Release 2.11 of Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT) has been published, and is available for download from NEHTA’s Secure Website. AMT is freely available for e-health software developers to use in their Australian products, under NEHTA’s licensing arrangements with the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO®1).
AMT does not provide total coverage of all products used in the Australian health sector. As a result, it is continuously updated and releases are issued on a monthly basis. Updates include additional data items, and refinements as identified by stakeholders.
The 28 May 2010 release of AMT contains all the Australian marketed products that are included on the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits, including the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (RPBS). This release includes products that become available as PBS products on 1 June 2010.
The full release notification can be found here:
This has all been going on for quite a long time.
AUSTRALIAN MEDICINES TERMINOLOGY RELEASE 1.0.0
19 December 2007
NEHTA publishes the Australian Medicines Terminology Release 1.0.0
Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT) Release 1.0.0 has been published. This comes after an extensive development phase incorporating feedback from our stakeholders. The scope of this release is limited as described below, and information on upcoming releases and their contents will be published as they become available.
Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT) Release 1.0.0 is an extension to SNOMED CT and access is limited to those holding license agreements managed by NEHTA.
The development of Australian Medicines Terminology has involved analysis and review by NEHTA, and has incorporated feedback from stakeholders.
The Australian Medicines Handbook (AMH) reviewed AMT and provided a report of recommendations. This is available on NEHTA’s website1. Key recommendations, as identified by NEHTA, have been incorporated into this release. A meeting held by NEHTA with stakeholders in December considered the remaining recommendations from the AMH report; the outcomes from this meeting will be posted on the NEHTA website and incorporated into subsequent AMT releases.
This release contains medicines from the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) that are included in the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits as published on the 1st December 2007, and includes over 3,500 products. More Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) items will routinely be added to the AMT through monthly updates to the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits.
Inclusion of non-PBS items listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods will also be added to future releases of AMT. NEHTA will work closely with TGA and PBS to identify issues and ensure AMT is updated as new products become available.
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Indeed it goes back much further:
In a NEHTA document dated 14 August, 2006 we have the following:
FACT SHEET - NATIONAL MEDICINES TERMINOLOGY
There are numerous systems that document drug information in Australia, all of which require slightly different information and perform slightly different functions. These include: TGA (ARTG) Register, PBS Schedule, state-wide and local hospital drug formularies and proprietary drug files such as those used by the medical software and knowledge resource industry.
NEHTA aims to ensure that terminology used for the naming and identification of all medicines registered and listed with the TGA is standardised across all e-health systems used in Australia. This will be done by developing a standard medicines terminology which is accessible to all.
NEHTA’s medicines terminology will deliver:
• A standard means of identifying branded and generically equivalent medicines; and
• Standard naming conventions and terminology, to accurately describe medications.
NEHTA will work with industry and international experts to develop the standards, specifications and infrastructure necessary for this task.
The Australian Catalogue of Medicines (ACOM) is an important contributor to this project and will be the central source of up-to-date trade product information to the medicines terminology. ACOM is available to the pharmaceutical industry to populate with current and standardised product data.
The Australian medicines terminology is also designed to:
• Be an extension to the nationally agreed terminology for all clinical terms used in Australian healthcare, SNOMED CT;
• Be used by e-health systems in both hospital and community settings;
• Be extended to include the identification of extemporaneous formulations as well as clinical trial drugs; and
• Have the ability to be extended to include medical devices.
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The purposes for having a medicines terminology (among others) include:
- Facilitating e-Prescribing and Medication Management.
- Reduction of Medication Errors
- Enabling Improved Accuracy of Medication Recording.
- Improving Clinical Trials and Medication Research.
- Assisting in Providing Quality Clinical Decision Support
For this to work properly and practically ALL prescribeable medications must be covered and covered in all their presentations (packaging etc). That is why this incomplete coverage is a major barrier to effective use.
“AMT does not provide total coverage of all products used in the Australian health sector. As a result, it is continuously updated and releases are issued on a monthly basis. Updates include additional data items, and refinements as identified by stakeholders.
The 28 May 2010 release of AMT contains all the Australian marketed products that are included on the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits, including the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (RPBS). This release includes products that become available as PBS products on 1 June 2010.”
You simply can’t make effective use of a terminology that only covers a proportion of what is prescribed and used.
I am also told the present data formats in which the terminology is provided are less than ideal.
Just why is it – after so long - this is just not done and dusted so the only updates are for new and deleted medications - as it has been promised and should have been.
Some good questions on this in Senate Estimates would not hurt! It is just hopeless.