National Medical Warning System

The MWS is designed to warn health and disability support services of any known risk factors that may be important when making clinical decisions about individual patient care. The MWS allows data from other sources to be available where it could be important. It is not designed to be a replacement for a service’s own clinical information system.

The MWS contains the following:

  • Medical warnings. These warn the provider of any known dangers relating to the specific individual and the administration of therapeutic medicines (eg, allergies, drug sensitivities, or adverse medical reactions). Warnings are categorised as ‘warnings’ or ‘dangers’. Doctors submit an incident, such as an allergic reaction, as a warning. The Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring can review and upgrade this warning to a danger if it could be potentially life-threatening.
  • Medical alerts. These indicate significant medical conditions, such as renal failure requiring dialysis, which are likely to have an impact on care decisions.
  • Healthcare event summaries. These are derived from event reports to the National Minimum Dataset and are therefore restricted to hospital events. The summary includes the hospital you were in, the dates you were in hospital, and the principal diagnosis causing admission to hospital. There is a field in the National Minimum Dataset that can prevent a summary from passing to the MWS when absolute confidentiality is required.
  • Contact details. Next of kin or other contacts whom the patient wishes to be notified in an emergency can be recorded here.
  • Donor information. A person’s wishes regarding organ donation can be recorded here.

Like the NHI, the MWS contains information of operational-level significance, and the responsibility for maintaining the content of the MWS rests with health and disability support services.

The MWS enables important data from different clinical information systems to be available to these services where and when it could be important.

A detailed account of how the MWS can be used is available in the NHI and MWS statement of use.

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