Special Article

European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 65-72

The continuing challenge of providing drug information services to diminish the knowledge—practice gap in medical practice

  • Gunnar AlvánAffiliated withDivision of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet
  • , Marine L. AnderssonAffiliated withDivision of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet
  • , Annika B. AsplundAffiliated withDivision of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet
  • , Ylva BöttigerAffiliated withDivision of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet Email author 
  • , Carl-Eric ElwinAffiliated withDivision of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet
  • , Lars L. GustafssonAffiliated withDivision of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet
  • , Birgitta ÖhmanAffiliated withDivision of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet
  • , Elisabeth TörnqvistAffiliated withDivision of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet

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Abstract

Information must be collected, evaluated and utilized to support every qualified activity. Medicine, with a written scientific tradition stretching back more than 2,000 years, is no exception. Here, we discuss a number of important items associated with the establishment of a drug information centre run by clinical pharmacologists and information pharmacists, serving a broad demand, mainly among clinical specialists. The working methods include a professional literature search, critical evaluation of the material, writing a structured answer, quality control, feedback to the inquirer and storage in a database which is publicly available. One can foresee even more complex systems wherein a number of active and specialized databases communicate to provide relevant advice and support at the point of care, supplying information on drug recommendations, reimbursement, environmental aspects, antimicrobial resistance, pharmacogenetics and adverse effects, and linked to a list of prescribed drugs for the individual patient. This will be possible in both rich and poor countries through the application of modern and developing information technology. However, research on the best and safest methods of such decision support systems will be needed to ensure that they really do improve the quality of drug prescribing and use.

Keywords

Clinical pharmacology Computerized decision support systems Drug information databases Drug information services Evidence-based medicine Knowledge–practice gap