VA Innovation Initiative project aims for fewer adverse drug events

Three new platforms to help providers prevent adverse drug events were developed as part of a recently completed Department of Veterans Affairs Innovation Initiative project.

The platforms--developed by Juno Beach, Fla.-based health IT software development company DSS, Inc., and piloted at five VA Medical Centers--were created to boost interoperability between departments and include an outpatient pharmacy interface that lists both active and inactive prescriptions; a problem list interface; and a bar-coded medication administration interface containing dosage records.

The platforms also helped ensure integration of surveillance software, provided by Salt Lake City-based TheraDoc, with the VA's electronic health record, VistA. The software was at the heart of project after helping prevent more than 250 adverse drug events at San Antonio-based South Texas Veterans Healthcare System in 2010.

Getting a handle on drug issues has been a priority for the VA of late. Last month, the VA and the Department of Defense posted a request for information in relation to efforts to add a pharmacy component to their integrated electronic health record (iEHR). The iEHR solution, according to the RFI, would "support the input, ordering, tracking, and dispension of pharmacy services" provided by both the VA and the DoD.

What's more, technology has become more and more key to helping all providers--not just those within the VA--predict adverse drug events. A study published last month in the journal Nature outlined the creation of a computer model created by researchers from the University of California San Francisco that can predict which drug prospects are most likely to have adverse side effects.

And earlier this year, researchers at Stanford University developed an algorithm that allows doctors to differentiate between adverse events related to drugs from those related to another illness.

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