3rd INTERPOLAR Day: Drug Safety Studies in Preparation

The work on the INTERPOLAR Drug Therapy Safety Project is gathering pace: On September 15th, more than 70 collaborators met for the third time this year in a web meeting for the INTERPOLAR Day. The main topic of the meeting was the current status of the preparations for the INTERPOLAR studies.

Two multi-centre studies at 15 university hospitals will test whether digital information processing can improve the service provided by ward pharmacists who check the safety of medicines. The new process will indicate which patients are at increased risk of drug interactions, for example. This will allow ward pharmacists to focus on those who will benefit most from their assessment.

In preparation for the study, it was first necessary to find out how the ward pharmacist service usually works in the participating university hospital pharmacies (“usual care”). This showed that the services provided by the pharmacies varied greatly. If IT solutions to improve medication safety are to be integrated into the daily routine on the wards, they must be adapted to the requirements of the different locations.

IT solutions for drug-related problems are being tested across the board for the first time

In this context, the current “standard of care” of the ward pharmacists was also jointly surveyed and reviewed. Although the procedures and sources of information used were very different, a common description of the standard of care for the 15 university hospitals was drawn up. This description forms the basis for harmonising the different requirements of the sites.

Another topic at INTERPOLAR Day was the database for the early detection of medication errors. To this end, experts in laboratory medicine and pharmacology have identified more than 3,000 active substances and 500 laboratory values that are associated with an increased risk of drug interactions. The pharmacists involved are currently reviewing this data for clinical relevance. It is then planned to test the digital availability of the information in the real data of the Data Integration Centres. The results will be checked for plausibility. In parallel, a reference architecture for the digital support of ward pharmacists’ services will be developed.

In addition to improving drug safety, the INTERPOLAR studies will show that IT-supported evaluation research is possible with the Data Integration Centres established by the Medical Informatics Initiative (MII).

“It is not only ward pharmacists who benefit from the INTERPOLAR study. Clinical researchers at the interface between clinic and IT also benefit from an improved data base – especially in the area of medication data”, summarises Dr Daniel Neumann, scientific project manager of INTERPOLAR, in a summary of the conference.

The next INTERPOLAR Day will take place on 27 and 28 November, at the Albertina Library in Leipzig.