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New DDI tools available

New DDI tools available

JANUARY 2016 – Research funded by CFP’s Innovation Fund continues to evolve to offer practical tools for pharmacists in the area of safety alerts for drug-drug interactions (DDIs)—and it’s picked up a national award to boot.

Certina Ho and her research team at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) Canada received a $50,000 grant from CFP in 2012. They recruited 35 community pharmacies in Ontario for a study and pilot project to determine how pharmacists can effectively respond to—and bill for, under the province’s Pharmaceutical Opinions program—DDIs that could otherwise have led to hospitalizations.

While drug information resources are already available, they can lead to desensitization due to an overload of alerts, many of which are not clinically significant. ISMP Canada targeted 13 DDIs and created a Safety Alert handbook for all participating pharmacies. It also created evidence-based algorithms to help pharmacists make recommendations to physicians, developed standardized forms to document the pharmaceutical opinions, and shared best practices based on interviews with pharmacists.

Of the 230 opinions billed during the study period, 67 pertained to DDIs listed in the Safety Alert handbook. The researchers estimate these interventions saved Ontario’s healthcare system more than $73,000, making this project a “win” for the public payer as well.

Judges for the Commitment to Care and Service Awards, presented by Pharmacy Practice+, agreed that the project was a win-win-win for patients, pharmacists and payers alike, and selected ISMP as recipient of the 2015 Award for Pharmacy Innovation. “This is an excellent, well thought-out initiative that has practical applications,” noted one of the judges.

Indeed, the pilot project was just the beginning. ISMP Canada has since hosted several live workshops in 2015, entitled “Resolving Drug-Drug Interactions: A Guide for Community Pharmacies to Reduce Potential Hospitalizations,” which were open to all interested pharmacists. The program is now available as an online educational module, and the handbook, entitled Drug-Drug Interactions Treatment Algorithm Handbook, is also available for purchase.

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