Information available across multiple platforms for health care professionals

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Health care practitioners and administrators face multiple challenges when it comes to staying current with therapeutic information. Not only does the information have to be accurate, reliable and up-to-date, it must also be easily accessible, available on a variety of high and low-tech platforms.

The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) offers a suite of comprehensive drug and therapeutic resources, from the printed Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties (CPS) to an ever-growing list of electronic and mobile tools.

CPhA’s newest offering is the CPS available via iMD’s digital patient education system. iMD’s digital terminals serve as an interactive medical medium for instant health communications, providing clinicians with a wide range of medical illustrations, patient literature, detail aids, patient assessment and counselling tools. Currently, the terminals are used during more than 4,300,000 patient visits each year across the country.

The CPS—a staple in virtually every health care office in Canada— is well known for its wealth of information on more than 2000 products,149 CPhA-authored monographs, product images and Therapeutic Guide.  Close to 70 per cent of Canada’s physicians refer to the print CPS at least once a week; 25 per cent refer to it daily. While close to 80 per cent of prescribing physicians already have access to CPS or its electronic version, e-CPS, at the point of care, the iMD offering expands its reach even further.

“Incorporating the accuracy of CPS content with the immediacy of the iMD system opens up yet another avenue to get prescribing information to physicians and pharmacists in a manner that is convenient for them,” says James de Gaspé Bonar, PhD, senior director of digital publishing solutions at CPhA.

Case in point, Dr. Michael Alexander, an internal medicine specialist with a consulting practice in the Niagara region, recently added the iMD system with CPS to his clinic. “iMD has created a versatile and easy-to-use terminal that provides me with reliable information I can use to counsel patients. Plus, I use the CPS every day to identify which drug to prescribe as well as dosing and side-effect information,” says Dr. Alexander. “Now, I can review all of this information with a patient before they leave with a prescription. I am always up to date, all on one platform.”

For those clinicians on the move, CPhA recently launched CPS Essentials for iPhone and Android, which comes with free apps and productivity tools that include Health Canada advisories, medical abbreviations, and calculators for body surface area, creatinine clearance and ideal body weight. Using the upgraded Drugs and Conditions app (retail $39.99), clinicians can check dosages, adverse effects, drug interactions and relative cost for over 2200 drugs, and also find recommended treatments for more than 200 conditions culled from CPhA’s print resource, Therapeutic Choices.

CPhA has been on the cutting-edge of digital information for many years. e-CPS has been available since 2004, allowing clinicians to search products by brand name, generic name, therapeutic class, manufacturer, DIN or NPN. With bi-weekly updates, clinicians are assured of up-to-date information—including Health Canada advisories and warnings.

Therapeutic Choices is also available electronically as e-Therapeutics+. Both offer evidence-based, best practice information on over 200 common conditions, written and reviewed by Canadian expert physicians and pharmacists, plus easy-to-use algorithms and quick reference drug tables to support decision making in everyday practice. With biweekly updates, its information is always current.

From small clinics to large, multi-site facilities, health care administrators say that they appreciate the convenience of having CPhA materials at their fingertips.

Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), for example, was looking to reduce the number of reference materials used at its multiple sites. The goal was to promote patient safety by ensuring that all practitioners referred to the same high-quality source of Canadian information.

Upgrading to e-Therapeutics+ helped HHS streamline clinical information management, says Suzanne Jackman, Drug Information Pharmacist with HHS.  “e-Therapeutics+ has put us on the road to a truly centralized reference for all our health care practitioners. Our ability to provide our patients with the most current Canadian information is of the utmost importance. e-Therapeutics+ helps us achieve that goal,” says Hamilton Health Sciences.

CPhA is continuing to expand its digital offerings. By the end of February 2012, a bilingual edition (English/French) of e-Therapeutics+ will be launched, while an online edition of CPhA’s non-prescription therapies resource (Minor Ailments) as well as a mobile version of CPS are schedule for release over the next few months.

Whether health care practitioners prefer to thumb through pages, type or tap a touch screen, they will find the information they need among CPhA’s suite of products at www.pharmacists.ca/store