After completing this chapter, the reader will be able to
- Define the term drug information, used in different contexts, and relate it to the term medication information.
- Describe the importance of drug information centers in the evolution of pharmacy practice.
- Identify the services provided by drug information centers.
- Describe the skills needed by pharmacists to perform medication information functions.
- Identify major factors that have influenced the ability of pharmacists to provide medication information.
- Describe practice opportunities for a medication information specialist.
- Medication information may be either patient-specific or relative to a group of patients, such as in the development of a therapeutic guideline, coordination of an adverse drug event reporting and analysis program, publication of an electronic newsletter, or updating a Web site.
- Several factors have been influential in the evolution of the pharmacist's role as a medication information provider in the last 50 years including the changing philosophy of practice, the emphasis on medication safety, integration of new information technology, changes in the health care environment with focus on evidence-based medicine and evaluation of outcomes, the sophistication of medication therapy, and the self-care movement.
- A properly configured medical record provides decision support, facilitates workflow, and enables the routine collection of data for performance feedback in an effort to help improve efficiency and quality of care, including patient safety. This offers opportunities for pharmacists, and in particular medication information specialists, to take a leadership role in planning and implementing computerized intervention programs that automatically educate at the point of prescribing.
- It is important not only that pharmacists keep up with medication use concepts, but that they also stay abreast of developments in the area of information technology in an effort to integrate new and valuable systems in a timely and efficient manner.
- The focus of evidence-based medicine in health care has strengthened the need for pharmacists to have a solid understanding of medication information concepts and skills. Pharmacists need to be able to evaluate the medication use issues for a group of patients; search, retrieve, and critically evaluate the scientific literature; and apply the information to a targeted group of patients.
- There are opportunities for drug information specialists to provide leadership in contract drug information centers, medical informatics, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), pharmacy benefit management organizations (PBMs), managed care organizations (MCOs), scientific writing and medical communications, poison control, pharmaceutical industry, and academia.
The provision of medication information is among the most fundamental responsibilities of pharmacists. The information may be either patient-specific or relative to a group of patients, such as in the development of a therapeutic guideline, coordination of an adverse drug event reporting and analysis program, publication of an electronic newsletter, or updating a Web site. The pharmacist can serve as a resource for issues regarding cost-effective medication selection and use, medication policy decisions (drug benefits), medication information resource selection, or practice-related issues. Medication information opportunities are developing and expanding with changes in the health care ...