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phactMI: Delivering accurate drug information to point of care, part IV

Posted on May 26th, 2021 by in Medical Information

Part 4: How phactMI and Elsevier collaborated to deliver information to healthcare professionals

The Pharma Collaboration for Transparent Medical Information™ (phactMI) is a non-profit organization that seeks to improve the lives of patients by supporting the safe and effective use of medicines. One of their major goals is to make it easier for healthcare professionals to access unbiased, evidence-based medical information about medicinal products, allowing the HCPs to quickly and efficiently find answers to their questions so that they can make informed decisions for their patients. To achieve this goal, they partnered with Elsevier.

In this post, we interview Patrick Reilly, CEO at phactMI, and Cameron Ross, Managing Director, Life Sciences at Elsevier, to learn more about how this collaboration began and how it benefits the healthcare community.

Starting with you, Patrick, when was phactMI founded?

In October 2013 by medical information leaders representing 19 pharmaceutical manufacturers.

What was the driving idea behind the founding of the organization?

It was an opportunity to raise awareness about and access to credible and reliable information about medicinal products. We believe that the phactMI collaboration has been a catalyst for elevating the practice of medical information.

Our ultimate goal is to develop cross-company initiatives that provide healthcare professionals with access to the medical information they need to make better-informed decisions and improve patient outcomes.

Were there any earlier versions of

The initial version of provided a central platform for easy access to member organization’s medical information resources for their products, including U.S. prescribing information (also known as label information or package inserts).

Why did phactMI decide to partner with Elsevier for this project?

One reason was Elsevier’s experience in the healthcare space. The more important reason was access to Elsevier’s technological expertise in making information discoverable: the MedScan NLP capabilities, including content acquisition and conversion, and dictionary-based entity recognition.

Cameron, turning to you, what was Elsevier’s experience with medical information of the type that phactMI offers prior to the project?

Elsevier has had the privilege of working with scientific information for over 100 years. A fundamental part of that is medical information: from early-stage discovery research through translational medicine to the patient-focused point-of-care perspective. We work with leaders across these areas to ensure that the data and insights are discoverable when and how they’re needed.

I should also point out that we have considerable experience in data engineering and the FAIRification of data: harmonizing, normalizing, and managing both structured and unstructured data. The text of medical information, which is core to phactMI’s mission, is unstructured data, so that’s something we can readily tackle.  

Patrick, what were the main goals for phactMI in the collaboration with Elsevier?

The goal was to take our experience in medical information and Elsevier’s experience with development and NLP processing to develop a unique offering for healthcare professionals. We wanted to provide efficient, self-service discovery of answers.

And Cameron, what were the main goals for Elsevier in the collaboration with phactMI?

This collaboration between phactMI and Elsevier puts us in a unique position to support both a pharmaceutical industry initiative as well as healthcare professionals. For us, this has meant understanding the needs of phactMI, the needs of healthcare professionals, and the needs of the consortia members with regards to medical information.

Patrick, how has it been partnering with Elsevier over the last few years? 

As with any major project or collaboration, the journey has not always been easy, but I believe that Elsevier has always been fair, reasonable and respectful in their approach to this project.

Same question to you, Cameron: how has it been partnering with phactMI over the last few years?

It’s always exciting to be part of something that is at the heart of delivering what the healthcare community needs. Working with phactMI and the member companies has been fulfilling. I’d agree that it hasn’t always been easy, but we are in a strong position now, with solid learnings. We’re keen to continue delivering benefit to the healthcare community using our platform and expertise and be a partner of choice to the Medical Information industry.

Why did you see Entellect as the right platform for this project?

Entellect is our life sciences platform that is dedicated to harmonizing disparate data types. It was absolutely the right platform on which to build this solution, and we have the right people with the experience to work with this data and partner with phactMI.

Back to you, Patrick: how would you define the benefit of the collaboration with Elsevier for phactMI and its companies?

Beyond the benefit of developing a superior search capability based on Entellect, Elsevier offers a vast assortment of resources to support the launch of the API and enable opportunities to expand its reach to a very broad healthcare professional audience.

And finally, what is the benefit of the collaboration with Elsevier for healthcare professionals?

As I mentioned at the start of the interview, phactMI is dedicated to increasing the awareness, credibility, and discoverability of pharmaceutical and medical information. Elsevier has been an ideal partner to help realize that mission.

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