INTERPOLAR – INTERventional POLypharmacy – drug interActions – Risks

Reducing medication related problems and drug interactions

Especially older people often take several medications at the same time. This can lead to undesirable side effects and interactions. Consequences can be additional disease patterns and further need for treatment. Relevant medication-related problems are often underestimated and are frequently the cause of morbidity and mortality among patients in hospital. In the cross-consortium Use Case INTERPOLAR, the four medical informatics consortia DIFUTURE, HiGHmed, MIRACUM and SMITH are working together to develop IT solutions for the prevention of drug interactions. The project is coordinated by the SMITH Consortium Office.

Closeup of pharmacist's hands taking medicines from shelf at the pharmacy


Identification of patients at high risk for drug side effects and interactions

Development of an IT-supported risk scoring of all newly admitted patients

Targeted and resource-saving personnel deployment of hospital pharmacists

Cross-consortium project of the Medical Informatics Initiative with the participation of 20 partners from science, research and healthcare, including 15 university hospitals and one associated partner

Identification of risky medication – Targeted intervention

The INTERPOLAR Use Case is dedicated to the algorithm-based identification of patients at high risk for clinically relevant medication problems that can be influenced. Hospital pharmacists can thus target the patients who will benefit most from their assessment. To this end, INTERPOLAR is leveraging the IT infrastructure established during the 2018-2022 development and networking phase as part of the Medical Informatics Initiative (MII).

To identify the level of risk for all patients, an IT-based risk assessment will be established for all inpatients. The risk score specifically supports hospital pharmacists in finding the relevant patients at high risk more quickly. This can speed up routine assessments and improve drug safety. Accompanying studies are expected to show that IT-supported risk assessment significantly reduces the number of patients with medication-related problems.

The project consists of four phases: First, the technical requirements for merging, analyzing and evaluating patient and medication data are set up at each participating Data Integration Center. The subsequent intervention study is planned at eight university hospitals (Leipzig, Jena, Hamburg, Bonn, Erlangen, Munich, Dresden and Heidelberg), each with six participating wards and more than 90,000 patients. Another seven hospitals (Freiburg, Aachen, Halle, Giessen, Mainz, Essen, Schleswig-Holstein/Campus Kiel) will participate in the final phase study. With more than 30,000 patients, the study will investigate whether the INTERPOLAR setup can also be used outside of a classical study setting with similar effects on drug safety. Finally, the data collected will be used to improve algorithms and open up multivariate and longitudinal predictive models.

Improving medication safety with data analyses

The basis for the intervention studies in INTERPOLAR was provided by the cross-consortium Use Case POLAR. In POLAR, methods were developed and used from February 2020 to December 2022 to collect personal medication data from routine care and pharmacy medication prescriptions. A selected spectrum of polymedications was also classified according to available methods with regard to Potentially Inadequate Medication (PIM). In addition, significant contributions were made to the mapping of medication and laboratory information in the MII-Core Data Set. The goal of POLAR was to identify the occurrence of adverse drug events and their consequences at an early stage. INTERPOLAR builds on the results of POLAR and applies them to clinical practice. Hospital pharmacists are thus relieved and patients can be cared for in a more targeted manner.

INTERPOLAR is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with more than 8 million euros from 01.01.2023 to 31.12.2026.

Participating consortia of the Medical Informatics Initiative