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HIMSS Preview: Patient Safety Updates via EHRs

February 15, 2012
by David Raths
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PDR Network seeks to leverage health IT platforms for drug safety alerts

Electronic health records hold out great promise as a platform for pharmaceutical companies and regulators to offer providers patient safety and care updates such as automated drug alerts. Yet a lot of work still needs to be done to standardize how that data is presented and how it fits into physicians’ workflow.

On Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the HIMSS conference in Las Vegas, PDR Network plans to kick off a multi-stakeholder initiative to try to identify how it can bring together the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, EHR vendors, pharmaceutical companies and liability carriers to work on design and workflow issues.

Last year, PDR Network, a provider of drug safety and clinical information to prescribers, rolled out a system designed to allow doctors nationwide to report incidents of adverse drug reactions using their EHRs or via the RxEvent.org website. The streamlined process aims to boost adverse drug event reporting among providers.

Steve Merahn, M.D., chief medical officer at PDR Network, said the new initiative seeks to build on the RxEvent framework. “The feedback and experience with RxEvent raised issues we can use to improve the process,” Merahn said. He added that the PDR effort fits in with the 2011 Institute of Medicine report calling for greater oversight of health information technology as it relates to patient safety. (The IOM report asks the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to publish a plan within 12 months to minimize patient safety risks associated with health IT and report annually on the progress being made.)

Merahn said the HIMSS presentation would include a video presentation by Janet Woodcock, M.D., the director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation Research. Appearing at the press briefing will be Linda Scarazzini, M.D., R.Ph., the director of the FDA Division of Pharmacovigilance, as well as Edward Fotsch, M.D., CEO of PDR Network, and David Troxel, M.D., medical director of The Doctors Company.

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