How can medicines information, Healthcare and Pharma benefit from structured data?

Dec 14, 2022

Structured Product Information and a common data standard play a crucial role in the use of medicines and improvements in patient safety.

Arif Govani
Chief Digital Officer, Datapharm

The following article is credited to Arif Govani. It is based on expert discussions during the webinar, ‘The future of electronic Product Information (ePI)’.

Using structured data with medicines information means that the patient or prescriber can easily bring up what they need in a way which is most relevant to the patient. In turn, this will mean improved decision-making about what to take (or not to take) and how to take medicines, positively impacting patient safety on a large scale.

For this to happen, there needs to be alignment within the Healthcare industry on how Product Information for medicines is structured, and Pharma companies will therefore need to follow a common standard (read on to find out more) when publishing their medicinal product information.

But how does structured Product Information become important to medicines and improvements in patient safety?


the future of electronic medicines product information epi

What could structured data do for Healthcare?

In broad terms, by structuring the Product Information we can positively impact the feeding of medicines information to healthcare professionals (HCPs) and patients, while vastly improving the patient experience.

Practically speaking, using properly structured data in ePI (electronic Product Information) would enable us to tailor the information for the patient. For instance, the information could be tailored by making it appear bigger or smaller according to their preference or to highlight important pieces of information which are particularly relevant to their patient record, e.g. highlighting a medicine’s contraindication which could affect a pregnant patient.

Therefore, using structured data throughout the Healthcare industry would help reduce prescribing errors by linking medicines information effectively to the patient. Not only is this great news for the patient, but it is music to the ears of Medical Information departments concerned with the safety aspects of their medicines.

patient checking medicines information

How can we make use of this structured ePI?

Having this product information structured in an SmPC (Summary of Product Characteristics) or ePIL (electronic Patient Information Leaflet) is one thing, but in order to utilise it as mentioned above, we need the IT systems which are used across Healthcare to talk to each other.

We call the ability for these systems to talk to each other ‘interoperability’. This means that the data can be understood by all these different systems, and when information is updated in one system, it is then updated across all the other systems as appropriate. This is where linking relevant information to the patient record becomes a reality.

So when Pharma and Healthcare systems adopt a common standard, this will enable these systems to become interoperable so that HCPs and patients can reap the life-changing benefits from structured data.

How are Datapharm’s customers benefitting?

In January 2023 the use of a new common data standard, HL7 FHIR, is up for ballot – the outcome of which will have a significant impact on the publishing of medicines information.

As well as playing a key role in the development of this data standard, we are continuing to place our customers at the forefront of digital medicines information which is accessible, efficient and engaging. Through our emc solutions suite we are ensuring that customers are best positioned when data standards come into force.

Contact our team to understand more about how we can help you on your digital journey with medicines information.

Further reading:

For more detail on how structured data will be implemented in the Healthcare industry, read our latest article on the new common data standard, FHIR.

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