ASPIRE Medication Safety Trial

A systems approach to enhancing community-based medication review

Woman with medications WEB RGB

Brisbane North PHN and the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) have partnered to deliver ASPIRE in our region with the aim of reducing medication-related harm at transitions of care.

The transition of care from hospital to home is widely recognised as a period of increased risk for medication-related harm. Older people or those taking high-risk or multiple medications (polypharmacy) are typically more vulnerable.

The ASPIRE (A systems approach to enhancing community-based medication review) Trial is a multi-centre study, sponsored by the University of Sydney, which investigates a PHN-based model of arranging timely medication reviews for people at high risk of medication-related harm when transitioning from hospital to home. North Brisbane is one of four trial sites across Queensland and New South Wales.

The trial, scheduled to run until 2025, will evaluate the implementation of a health service interventional program which aims to enhance both the uptake and the effectiveness of Home Medicines Reviews (HMRs) for individuals post hospital stay. This targeted intervention aims to reduce unplanned hospital readmissions, improve quality of life and reduce medicines burden.

Brisbane North PHN in partnership with RBWH are planning to achieve this through:

  • implementing a Brisbane North PHN-based Medication Safety Hub with a Medication Safety Pharmacist who assists in the coordination of a timely medication management review
  • a hospital pharmacist at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH), who identifies patients at high risk of medication-related harm and who are likely to benefit from a post-discharge medication review
  • strengthening communication channels between local hospital, primary care healthcare practitioners and PHN-based Medication Safety Pharmacist to improve medication safety and patient outcomes
  • multi-disciplinary PHN-led professional development activities on quality use of medicine topics for local healthcare practitioners
  • a communication strategy to raise awareness among local healthcare practitioners of the new role of the PHN in coordinating medication reviews and medication safety initiatives.

Home Medicines Review: supporting quality use of medication

A HMR is a government funded medication review service involving the patient, their general practitioner (GP) and an accredited (credentialed) pharmacist. HMRs employ a person- centred approach to increase patient involvement in making informed decisions about their medicines.

HMRs conducted after a hospital stay enable accredited (credentialed) pharmacists to:

  • enhance the patient’s comprehension of their recently altered or new medication regimen.
  • assess whether the patient is tolerating and managing their new medication regimen at home
  • review prescription and non-prescription medications
  • recommend interventions that ensure a patient’s medication use is safe, effective and appropriate
  • identify and address actual or potential medication-related problems
  • escalate concerns regarding medication-related harm to the referring practitioner.

General Practitioners

GPs are notified of their patients’ enrolment in the ASPIRE Trial via their hospital discharge summary. Patients are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their GP to initiate a HMR referral. The PHN Medication Safety Pharmacist communicates additional clinical information obtained during the patient’s handover with the hospital pharmacist to the GP.

Brisbane North Accredited Pharmacist Directory

Brisbane North PHN have created a local directory of accredited (credentialed) pharmacists who are available to conduct HMRs. This directory is available to General Practitioners via HealthPathways until the end of the trial.

Pharmacists interested in being involved in ASPIRE or connecting with the PHN for Continuing Professional Development events can provide consent via the Accredited Pharmacist Registration Form to be listed on the Brisbane North PHN Accredited (Credentialed) Pharmacist Directory.

Trial investigators and Pharmacists

Chief Principal Investigator
Professor Timothy F Chen | Professor of Medication Management | The University of Sydney School of Pharmacy

Principal Investigators
Professor Ian Coombes | Director of Pharmacy | Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
Michelle Bruckner | Manager Integrated Care | Brisbane North PHN

Chief Investigator
Associate Professor Charles P Denaro | Director of Internal Medicine and Aged Care | Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital

Dr Liza-Jane Raggatt | Research Assistant | Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
Angela Smith | Medication Safety Pharmacist | Brisbane North PHN


Contact Brisbane North PHN Medication Safety Pharmacist Angela Smith via email at angela.smith@brisbanenorthphn.org.au or phone on 07 3490 3485.

The trial is registered in the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR): ACTRN12623000121662. More details on the design and outcomes of the trial are available from this site.

The ASPIRE trial is funded by the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Australian Government 2020 Medical Research Future Fund Grant opportunity: Quality, Safety and Effectiveness of Medicine Use and Medicine Intervention by Pharmacists: MRFQI000043.