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Vol. 9 No. 19, September 12, 2012

Fact and Stats

Real-time prescription drug databases can help decrease the number of inappropriate prescriptions that are filled for commonly misused drugs, according to a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The researchers in British Columbia tracked the number of inappropriate prescriptions for opioid painkillers and tranquilizers after the province introduced a real-time database, called PharmaNet, in 1995. The database allows pharmacists to view patient's recent prescriptions, said Colin Dormuth, an epidemiologist at the University of British Columbia and lead author of the study. Pharmacists who suspect "doctor shopping", when a patient tries to fill prescriptions for the same medication at multiple pharmacies, can "sound the alarm" or refuse to dispense the drugs.

After the database was introduced, the study found that for people receiving federal assistance, inappropriate prescriptions for:
  • Opioids fell from 3.2% to 2.1%; and
  • Benzodiazepines, a class of tranquilizers, fell from 1.2% to 0.71%.
Opioids such as OxyContin and Vicodin are powerful painkillers and are commonly used in cancer patients or for a few days after surgeries. But they are also highly addictive and can trigger serious side effects, such as heart problems and breathing failure.

Although prescription drug monitoring databases already exist in the U.S., few are real-time and there is limited evidence of their success in preventing inappropriate prescriptions.

"The cost of implementing these networks in terms of the hardware and resources to build them is probably trivial compared to the millions of inappropriate prescriptions that can be prevented" Colin Dormuth told Reuters Health.

Read more

Source: Effect of a Centralized Prescription Network on Inappropriate Prescriptions for Opioid Analgesics and Benzodiazepines

Date: September 4, 2012

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Industry Speak

Agfa HealthCare and Orion Health form Global Strategic Relationship for e-Health

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Canadian Market Research

Access up-to-date market intelligence on the Canadian healthcare IT landscape based on data from the HIMSS Analytics Canadian DatabaseSM. Research that can help healthcare IT vendors and consultants expand into the Canadian market and become more competitive in the space. ITAC members receive a 15% discount. For more information click here.

Infoway Update

Find Out What's New and Happening at Canada Health Infoway

Worth Noting

World e-ID Congress 2012

AAL Forum 2012 (Eindhoven, Netherlands)

Digital Health Conference 2012 (New York, US)

CEATEC Japan 2012

VPH2012 (London, UK)

Health 2.0 Europe 2012 (Berlin, Germany)

itHealthcare Canada 2012

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