summer 2011

i n f o r m a t i o n   t e c h n o l o g y
Pharmacy Network benefits realized


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The Pharmacy Network is a provincial drug information system that contains records of patient medication information and comprehensive drug information.

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The Pharmacy Network (PN) is a provincial drug information system that contains records of patient medication information and comprehensive drug information. It is a component of the provincial Electronic Health Record (EHR), designed to support improved patient safety and overall enhanced care. The Pharmacy Network helps health professionals better identify potential adverse drug interactions and side effects, ensuring patients get the most benefit from their medications.

Part of the value in implementing the Pharmacy Network is the availability of patient specific drug profile information across the health system to appropriate providers; there is a particular interest in bringing the PN to hospital emergency rooms throughout the province, with the expectation of significant benefit in this area of the health system.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information (the Centre), in partnership with Eastern Health, recently completed a one-time Pharmacy Network phase 2 demonstration project that involved setting up a Pharmacy Network viewer (Care Provider Portal) to access and assess emergency room patients’ profiles at the Health Science Centre. This project allowed an early view of the potential benefits of the viewer from a hospital emergency room perspective.

The Care Provider Portal is a web application intended to be used by clinicians without a Practice Management System to view patient specific medication profiles stored within the PN. When the demonstration project was conducted in late March there were 44 pharmacies connected, contributing to the Pharmacy Network EHR medication profiles with over 615,000 prescriptions for over 72,000 individuals.

The expectation of the demonstration project was that as of March 29, with just over 20 per cent of community pharmacies online, there would be few patients with medications in the Pharmacy Network Drug Information System (DIS).

Much to the surprise of the team, of the 81 cases viewed, 26 of them indeed had medications listed in the Pharmacy Network (32 per cent); that means that about one in every three patients seen in the ER had information in the PN. In fact, the first profile accessed resulted in available prescription information from the Pharmacy Network. These results provided strong evidence to suggest the time is right to expedite the work to enable access to the PN by health facilities. This work has begun.

“These results give great optimism for the value proposition to the patients, providers and health system of our province,” says Mike Barron, President and CEO at the Centre.

“We look forward to ongoing collaboration with the various stakeholders in the health system as we move to Phase 2 of Pharmacy Network deployment, which involves bringing the viewer to hospitals and care facilities, as we continue to deploy community pharmacies.”

Based on this demonstration project, there are many insights that will help pave the road for Phase 2 deployment. The value of the Pharmacy Network viewer, even at this early stage, has been confirmed.

For more information, please visit the Pharmacy Network website.

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