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Navigating the Complex Terrain of Drug-Drug Interactions: Leveraging ICT and CDS for Safer Prescribing
Published on 3 May 2024

In the complex world of healthcare, patients often have different health issues and take several medications at once. This can increase the risk of drug-drug interactions (DDIs), where one medicine affects how another one works. These interactions can cause anything from minor problems to serious health issues. Healthcare providers work hard to keep patients safe by learning about and preventing these interactions.

The Role of ICT (Information and Communication Technology):

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has revolutionised healthcare delivery, offering innovative solutions to address complex challenges such as DDIs. Through electronic health records (EHRs) and interoperable systems like the CAREPATH system, ICT enables healthcare professionals to access comprehensive patient data, including medication histories and potential interactions. This real-time access to information empowers providers to make informed decisions and mitigate the risks associated with DDIs.

Moreover, ICT (Information and Communication Technology) makes it easier for healthcare team members to communicate and collaborate. This ensures that important information about a patient's medication and any potential interactions is shared smoothly. This approach helps everyone involved to better understand the patient's needs bet, leading to higher-quality care.

The Role of Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSs):

Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSs) serve as invaluable tools in the prevention and management of DDIs. These intelligent software applications analyse patient data in real time, flagging potential interactions and providing evidence-based recommendations to healthcare providers. By integrating guidelines, drug databases, and patient-specific information, CDSs empower clinicians to identify and address DDIs proactively.

Moreover, CDSs can enhance medication reconciliation processes, ensuring that changes to a patient's medication regimen are accurately documented and reviewed for potential interactions. Through alerts and notifications, CDSs prompt clinicians to consider alternative therapies or adjust dosages to minimise the risk of adverse outcomes.

The Synergy of ICT and CDS in DDI Management:

When combined, ICT and CDS offer a powerful synergy in the management of DDIs. By leveraging ICT infrastructure to integrate CDS seamlessly into clinical workflows, healthcare organisations can streamline DDI identification and mitigation processes. Real-time access to CDS recommendations within the EHR enables providers to make informed decisions at the point of care, reducing the likelihood of harmful interactions and improving patient safety.

Furthermore, ICT facilitates continuous monitoring and evaluation of DDI management strategies, allowing healthcare organisations to identify trends and areas for improvement. Through data analytics and quality improvement initiatives, organisations and clinicians can refine their prescribing practices and optimise patient outcomes over time.

CDSS and Drug-drug interaction service in the CAREPATH project

CAREPATH is an e-health system that uses ICT (Information and Communication Technology) to provide integrated, patient-centred care for individuals with multiple health conditions. It creates a collaborative environment for all stakeholders involved in the patient's care. The care plan within CAREPATH allows healthcare professionals to review and understand how one condition may affect others. This involves managing complex and diverse information.

The Clinical Decision Support service (CDS) within CAREPATH automates the interpretation of available data. It connects to the care plan repository and continuously searches records for relevant information. One important aspect of the CDS is its focus on identifying potential DDIs. Since patients with multiple conditions may be prescribed different medications, there's a risk of these drugs interacting with each other and causing adverse reactions. The DDI module within the CAREPATH CDSS provides advisories about potential interactions to help healthcare providers make informed decisions about medication management.

In conclusion, the importance of addressing DDIs in healthcare cannot be overstated. As we navigate the complex terrain of multimorbidity and polypharmacy, leveraging ICT and CDSs is essential in mitigating the risks associated with DDIs and ensuring the safety of our patients. By harnessing the power of technology and collaboration, we can strive towards safer prescribing practices and improved patient outcomes.