Clinician Profile - Justin Lee, Director of Medication Services Queensland

12 December 2017

CKN will be regularly featuring the work of clinicians from around the state. Today we speak with Justin Lee, Director of Medication Services Queensland.

Justin Lee, Director of Medication Services QueenslandI currently work with Medication Services Queensland within the Department of Health. Our unit has responsibilities in statewide medicines management processes (e.g. operation of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in public hospitals), medication safety and maintaining the List of Approved Medicines. Medicines are widely used as a treatment option in hospitals, so our work is extensive and varied. Some of our current work activities include developing statewide guidelines for the management of venous thromboembolism, managing the impact of medicine shortages and supporting the implementation of electronic medication management systems across the State. Ultimately, the work we do contributes towards ensuring our public hospital patients are able to access medicines in a way that is safe, cost-effective and equitable.

Professionally, I am a registered pharmacist, have a Master of Business Administration and am a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. I have a particular interest in working within complex systems to achieve positive system-wide change and developing people to reach their full potential. So far, my work closely matches my interests, which is particularly helpful because I often have to make things up as I go along (and it is easier to make something up in an area you are familiar with and interested in).

Keeping up with rapid advances in technology is the greatest challenge facing clinical staff. While most of us now are unable to function optimally without a smartphone, most hospitals still operate on paper-based systems and processes. Replacing paper with technology in hospitals cannot be safely achieved by direct substitution. In many cases, replacing paper with technology is a significant change to the hospital workflow, requiring a remodelling of service delivery. Despite these challenges, technology provides us with numerous opportunities and safety benefits. For example, in a paper based system, a doctor may write an order for a medicine on a chart, but if there is a duplicate medicine on a different chart there is a chance that this may be missed—an electronic system could flash up warnings that a duplicate medicine has been ordered. This is a simplistic example, but highlights a key aspect of the world we are living in—we have, and will have, more information than we have ever had at any point in the past. So it will not be so much a need for more information, but a need to be able to analyse, understand and harness the power of this information to deliver better patient care.

A core function of Medication Services Queensland is to maintain public confidence in the medicines management system in Queensland Health. Evidence-based practice is essential to maintain this confidence. Anyone can ask Dr Google about medicines and their health, and get a myriad of responses—some funny, some ambiguous and some downright dangerous. However, the public should be able to trust that their health department operates in a manner that is reliable, credible and authoritative.

CKN provides a one-stop-shop for accessing evidence-based information. CKN makes searching for evidence-based information easier and faster. With only a few clicks I can compare and contrast medicine monographs from several CKN resources to obtain a comprehensive understanding of a medicine. I can also use CKN to bring up journal articles that would otherwise require a subscription. Our team regularly uses CKN to obtain medicines information; for example, we may refer to the Therapeutic Guidelines to guide the development of statewide guidelines. I use MIMS via CKN several times a week for product information on a particular medicine, and often to get an idea of how it looks like as well as its scheduling status. While our unit does not provide direct patient care, I know that CKN has well and truly become part of clinicians’ repertoire as they deliver care to patients.

CKN has always been my go-to when I want access to evidence-based information in a quick and easy way. The icing on the cake was when I discovered that I could access CKN from outside the Queensland Health network [with a CKN Account allowing offsite access]. The ability to quickly look something up when not at work is fantastic. I have also been impressed by how many resources now have mobile apps. As information becomes more voluminous and technology more complex, it is assuring to see that CKN continues to make things easier for busy clinicians. The CKN team has really done a great job on improving the offering over the years and should be congratulated.

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