NHS to launch clinical data portal

pharmafile | December 17, 2008 | News story | Medical Communications NHS, NHS Evidence, NICE, digi, patients 

The NHS is building an online portal to store drug information in one place.

NHS Evidence will pool clinical data for access by both health professionals and will be launched in April 2009.

Drug reference information in the British National Formulary (BNF) will be a key element of the new portal, together with other data that has traditionally been harder to find.

Dr Gillian Leng, interim chief operating officer for NHS Evidence and NICE deputy chief executive, said: “We are looking forward to working in partnership with the BNF to ensure that NHS staff have access to sound, up-to-date advice and information about the use of medicines.”

The idea has been conceived as part of Lord Darzi’s Next Stage Review and is aimed at providing NHS staff with a single, authoritative information source on drugs and best practice.

The goal is to make it as straightforward and easy to use as search engines such as Google.

Until April, the Department of Health will remain responsible for provision of information. It currently has a contract to purchase basic drug reference information from the BNF and British National Formulary for Children (BNFC).

From April, NICE will manage the English BNF, with the devolved administrations making their own separate arrangements for purchase.

Professor Martin Kendall, chairman of the BNFs Formulary Development Committee, welcomed the move as a “logical progression” for the BNF.

NHS Evidence will be accessible both through a dedicated website and via IT systems used in clinical decision-making and users will be able to customise information to suit their needs.

Features of the new system will include a browseable alphabetical index and improved access to information contained in the BNF appendices.

Clinicians, nurses, pharmacists and commissioners are the key audiences for this one-stop-shop, although the public will also be able to access it.

It is expected that some NHS Evidence content will dovetail with that from patient-focused portals like NHS Choices and NHS Direct.

An independent accreditation process will validate the information.

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