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Finding drug information can be hard – healthcare providers need digital solutions

Posted on October 5th, 2021 by in Medical Information

The digital transformation in our world was already happening quite rapidly in recent years, but then the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated many aspects of it. Not only did schools and businesses have to learn to function online, but everything from doctor’s visits to dance parties were frequently being conducted on the internet. But even as many sectors have made the digital transition, some areas have continued to lag behind.

Healthcare professionals know this all too well when it comes to locating medical and drug information that they need to support their patients. At a time when it seems like virtually every bit of knowledge should be available to us with a few taps on the keyboard, some critical information is still hard to find.

In a recent piece written for Healthcare Global Magazine, Dr. Tom Williams of Elsevier’s Life Sciences Professional Services, noted a number of the challenges providers face when searching for vital information:

  • Difficult manual searches – Manually navigating through paper records or huge online databases can be tedious and frustrating
  • Too much information – There are large, growing pools of data (from preclinical to adverse events) on every drug, so it can be an overwhelming amount of information to sort through
  • Using the right search terms – Identifying the right drug information can be challenging when terms are not standardized and not all websites will necessarily link together related terms (a brand name and its generic, for example)
  • Dealing with multiple resources – It can be difficult making decisions on a patient’s treatment plan when you have to cross-reference between different company websites and may be getting confusing or conflicting information
  • Lack of awareness – Many healthcare providers simply don’t know that drug makers have medical information departments that can answer their questions, and so don’t even realize that help is available 
  • Lack of time – Providers are often under major time pressures on the job and simply don’t have the time to go on a lengthy quest to find the information they want

These challenges are significant, but there is a potential solution if the healthcare industry can bring stakeholders together to create a centralized hub that could make this information more readily available. Everyone would stand to benefit, and digital technologies like AI and natural language processing would make the information easier to harness and to search for.

Currently, the Pharma Collaboration for Transparent Medical Information (phactMI) is providing one such source for evidence-based drug information via the powerful Entellect platform. The collaborative is made up of many pharmaceutical companies supplying helpful drug information, so healthcare providers can go to one place rather than searching among several sites. And the more who keep joining, the better!

It’s through initiatives like this that medical and healthcare providers will be able to access important information quickly and easily, so they can make informed decisions and offer their patients the best possible care.

Read the full article by Dr. Williams here to learn more.

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