SUMMER 2008

I N F O R M A T I O N   T E C H N O L O G Y
Survey reveals physicians recognize value of Pharmacy Network


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In a recent survey administered by the Centre for Health Information, in partnership with the NLMA, physicians were asked a series of questions regarding their attitudes towards technological change, and awareness of the Pharmacy Network, the provincial drug information system.

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In a recent survey administered by the Centre for Health Information, in partnership with the NLMA, physicians were asked a series of questions regarding their attitudes towards technological change, and awareness of the Pharmacy Network, the provincial drug information system.

The successful implementation and adoption of the Pharmacy Network is an important step in the development of the provincial electronic health record (EHR). The Centre is managing the development of the NL EHR and conducted the survey as part of efforts to assess physicians’ level of readiness for the Pharmacy Network and to plan future engagement and collaboration with physicians.

While the survey response level was low, the survey did uncover some noticeable trends.

For the most part, physicians were in agreement on perceived benefits of the Pharmacy Network. Eighty-one per cent of respondents felt it was important that the Pharmacy Network provide online, real-time medication profiles to health professionals. Almost 70 per cent believed the Pharmacy Network would help reduce the amount of prescription drugs present in the illegal drug trade and that it was very important to allow for sharing of patient medication profiles among health professionals, in both hospitals and community clinics in the province.

When it came to assessing computer aptitudes and resources as the province prepares for Pharmacy Network deployment, over 70 per cent of those surveyed used a computer in their clinical practice on a daily basis, and over 65 per cent had access to the internet, with over 86 per cent of those using a high speed connection. Forty per cent of physicians indicated that the greatest challenges in incorporating the Pharmacy Network into their clinical practice would be the lack of time to learn a new system and intrusion to clinical workflow.

The survey revealed that although physicians recognize the value of the Pharmacy Network, they were unsure where to find information regarding the project (50%), are unaware of timing and implementation phases (60%) and do not have a complete understanding of the project and its connection to the NL EHR.

The Centre also asked about physicians’ preferred methods for receiving future communications regarding the Pharmacy Network. This information will be used to develop further communication and increase engagement of physicians.

Physician acceptance and adoption of the Pharmacy Network is essential to its success. The Centre for Health Information is committed to increasing its engagement with physicians as the Pharmacy Network moves closer to “going live”.

NLMA members are encouraged to check out the latest edition of the EHR Fast Facts, which includes an update on development of the Pharmacy Network and additional NL EHR projects. As well, physicians can download a copy of the Pharmacy Network Patient Consent Management and Access Consultation Paper.

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Nexus is published quarterly for Newfoundland and Labrador's physicians. It is a forum for the exchange of views, ideas and information for members.