Hypertension, depression, anxiety are among the most common chronic health conditions Aussies are suffering with. High cholesterol and asthma also rank highly, according to a new report by the Department of Health and NPS MedicineWise.
The findings were derived from data from 2.1 million patients who attended 475 general practices across the country.
“The report shows that GPs most frequently prescribed penicillin, antidepressants, opioids and drugs for peptic ulcers,” Professor Brendan Murphy, Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Health, explained. “It also shows that 42 per cent of patients had at least one pathology test recorded.”
As for the reason why patients see a doctor, the three most frequent are to obtain a prescription, for a review of their conditions and for upper respiratory tract infections.
NPS MedicineWise CEO Steve Morris said the information is being used to assist doctors with their treatment and, ultimately, to improve the health of all Australians.
“This new MedicineInsight report provides examples of areas of practice where GPs were shown how they were currently managing patients, and where there may have been potential to improve health outcomes,” Mr Morris said.
“In one of these examples, the data showed that around 43 per cent of patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease were not prescribed guideline-recommended, potentially life-saving statin therapy.
“We subsequently undertook a targeted education program to help GPs better identify and manage patients at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease.”