What is Veterans’ MATES?
The Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) has delivered the Veterans' Medicines Advice and Therapeutics Education Services (Veterans' MATES) program with the aim of improving the use of medicines and related health services in the veteran community.
The program aims to support veterans and their families to manage their health. Administrative claims data are used to identify DVA clients who are at risk of medicine related problems and the health providers who treat them. Veterans’ MATES uses this information to provide educational material that is tailored to DVA client’s specific health care needs. Veterans’ MATES also provide direct patient-based feedback to treating doctors regarding medicines and health services that have been provided to their DVA client patients. This information is tailored to an individual doctor's practice.
Supporting educational material is also sent to community pharmacies, accredited pharmacists and other health professionals providing care for DVA clients. A team of clinical experts contribute to the development of the health and medicine information.
Each year Veterans’ MATES focuses on four topics and utilises DVA’s administrative claims data to pinpoint members of the veteran community who would benefit. The program has focused on increasing use of under-used medicines, reducing adverse medicine events, reducing use of unnecessary medicines and improving the utilisation of health services. A range of health conditions and medicines have been covered including pain, diabetes, insomnia, depression, falls, osteoporosis and wound care.
The national program is evaluated using surveys provided at the time materials are distributed, as well as observational studies using administrative claims data to measure the impact of the interventions. Over the past two years, 70% of DVA clients and 80% of general practitioners who have provided feedback through the surveys have reported the educational materials beneficial.
Since its inception:
Veterans’ MATES has reached more than 300,000 DVA clients, 33,000 general practitioners and 8,500 pharmacists.
Each year approximately 77,000 DVA clients receive educational material from Veterans’ MATES specific to their health care needs.
Collectively there have been over 500,000 mailings sent to doctors, with 1.5 million targeted messages individually tailored for each DVA client’s health care needs.
The program has delivered 1.5 million mailings to identified DVA clients providing health education and self-management advice.
Results from the program indicate:
22,000 years of more appropriate treatment with medicines;
67,500 DVA clients receiving tests and services necessary for their care;
930 hospitalisations avoided; and
At least 140 premature deaths avoided.
Topic materials available on this website reflect information current at the time of distribution.
For more information about the program or one of the Veterans’ MATES topics, health professionals, DVA clients and carers can contact 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372).
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