A drug information service center is a specialized unit that provides specific information regarding drug utilization to health professionals and the public. They are established mostly in hospitals and other institutes like pharmacy colleges, universities, etc.
Services of Drug Information Center:
The services of the drug information center are:
- To provide specialized information on pharmacotherapy and meet the needs of physicians.
- To expand the role of pharmacists in providing drug information services to the hospital and community.
- To promote the effective use of drug information resources by pharmacists and physicians.
- To promote patient care through the rational use of medicines.
- To evaluate suspected Adverse drug reactions.
- To evaluate suspected drug interactions.
- To provide information regarding drug administration techniques and monitoring parameters of efficacy and toxicity.
- To provide information regarding accurate dosing to pediatric, geriatric, and patients with special dosing requirements.
- To conduct continuing education programs and training all the staff.
- To help the P&T committee in the rational selection of formulary. Etc.
Establishment Of Drug Information Center:
The resources required for the successful functioning of the drug information center are:
The number of staff required will depend on the workload, the range of activities offered, and the hours of services.
A full-time clinical pharmacist or a pharmacologist having good communication skills, and knowledge about identification, selection, and clinical evaluation is mandatory. Additional personnel from medical and non-medical are also included. The responsibilities include:
- Planning, establishing, and maintaining a viable financial base.
- Education and training of students and incumbent staff.
- Strategic development and expansion of services.
- Collecting, analyzing, managing, and documenting all the data.
- Promoting the services of DIC with assured quality of information.
Location And Layout:
It should be centrally located and have a good assessment such as
- Adjacent to the hospital or within the hospital
- Medical teaching institution
- Near to hospital pharmacy/Emergency department.
The work area should be a minimum of 25 sq. mts in one or two rooms. Other basic requirements include basic office equipment like computers with net facility, printer, scanner, fax machine. A filling cabinet, working chairs and desk with good ventilation is needed.
DIC should have an independent and adequate source of income from the pharmaceutical industry and other private organizations to ensure its stability. Services to enquirers should be provided free of cost or through a contract arrangement that does not discourage the use of services to support quality healthcare teams.
In addition to clinical knowledge of drug information, practitioners need to have
- Communication skills to receive and comprehend resources.
- Knowledge of all available drug information resources.
- Quick literature searching skills & writing skills.
- Capacity for critical analysis of available literature.
- Ability to summarize complexes.
DIC should provide a quality standard of service which includes an assessment of staff and personnel, regular reviews of calls taken, answers provided to queries, periodic review of resources, documentation, etc.
Direct output is regularly reviewed and analyzed and feedback is sought from enquirers.
Comments from external sources can also be included.
Texts And Data Bases:
The DIC should always maintain its own library of commonly used resources. The major share of drug information literature comes from primary sources of drug information followed by secondary and tertiary information resources.
Additional books, articles, journals, and other publications should be available electronically or in print.
- Primary literature: This includes the original research papers published in scientific journals, proceedings of seminars, newsletters, and patents. They can also include case reports, editorials, and letters of editors. e.g.: Drug discovery today, Journal of pharmacy practice, Journal of controlled release. Etc.
- Secondary literature: They comprise second-hand information including a summary of information appearing in primary resources. e.g.: E literature sources. ( MEDLARS, SEDBASE, BIOSIS, Micromedex, etc)
- Tertiary literature: They provide an overview of the topic in concise and readable forms. e.g: Encyclopaedias, text books, dictionaries etc.( I.P, B.P, USP, British national formulary, Merk index, Martindale extra pharmacopeia etc).
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