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phactMI: Delivering accurate drug information to point of care

Posted on March 2nd, 2021 by in Medical Information

Part 1: How healthcare professionals can access the latest and most accurate information on medications

Access to accurate, up-to-date information on medications helps healthcare professionals make better decisions. Before prescribing or dispensing a drug, it’s essential to have some insight into its behaviors — desired effect, required storage conditions, potential off-target effects, drug–drug interactions and so on. Physicians, nurse practitioners and pharmacy staff members demonstrate an incredible knowledge of drugs, built up through many years of point-of-care experience. This knowledge informs their clinical decisions.

However, there is a constant stream of information about new medical products as well as updates about existing ones. How can healthcare professionals stay current without spending a significant amount of time and effort on learning all this new information?

This new blog series looks at how healthcare professionals can easily obtain answers about medications. In this post, we will focus on the evolving role that pharmaceutical manufacturers play in supporting the medical community.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers carefully manage robust scientific and clinical information about their products. Each drug amasses a rich pool of knowledge during development and beyond. Preclinical and clinical trial data, patient information labels, and pharmacovigilance reports are curated by medical information teams. Understandably, they play an important part in maintaining internal access the company’s knowledge base.

Interestingly, these experts also have a very significant role within the broader healthcare community. When requested, they share published and unpublished internal information with healthcare professionals who prescribe, dispense and manage medicine. By delivering current and accurate answers to medical queries, they can have a positive and enduring impact on patient care.

Medical information teams can help healthcare professionals in many ways. Beyond simply answering questions on a product’s properties and effects, they can also perform expert interpretation. For example, if there was a point-of-care decision that required delving into the clinical trial data, having their support would be essential.

As technology has developed, many pharmaceutical manufacturers have investigated ways to provide healthcare professionals with quicker and more direct access to drug information. The Pharma Collaboration for Transparent Medical Information™ (phactMI) is one such undertaking. This non-profit collaboration of pharmaceutical company medical information leaders aims to be the primary source for evidence-based drug information. It currently enables searches of over 3,000 product labels and associated medical information responses.

Surprisingly, around 40% of healthcare professionals are not aware that pharmaceutical manufacturers have medical information departments. Even fewer are aware of organizations like phactMI, which means they are not taking advantage of this incredible resource.

Here’s an anonymized example of how drug information services can help. A patient had a long-term condition, but their current medication was not having the desired impact. Their physician contacted drug information services, who were able to support the physician with suggestions for a new medication and possible dosages. After moving to the new medication, the patient showed considerable improvement: symptoms were brought under control at last.

Everyone involved on the treatment team should know that they can easily obtain more information about pharmaceutical products. Ultimately, phactMI and healthcare professionals have the same goal: better-informed decisions that can help improve patient outcomes.

Next time, we will investigate some of the challenges that healthcare professionals face when it comes to obtaining information about medications.

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