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New Medicines Information Service Released for New Zealand

New Medicines Information Service Released for New Zealand

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Published by: Pippa Newstead on Jun 01, 2010
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06/01/2010

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New medicines information service released for New Zealand
Hutt Valley District Health Board
Tuesday 01 June 2010, 10:53am
Media relealse from Hutt Valley District Health Board 
The New Zealand Universal List of Medicines (NZULM) was launched todayby the Associate Minister of Health Hon Peter Dunne.Speaking at the HuttValley District Health Board today, the Minister said: "This is an importantmilestone for Actioning Medicines New Zealand and an important componentin improving patient safety in the prescribing and dispensing of medications."Actioning Medicines New Zealand is the action plan for Medicines NewZealand - the New Zealand medicines strategy. "Having a universal list of medicines will make medication management more straight-forward and resultin safer and faster services to New Zealanders".It is a little known fact thatcurrently there are several different lists and schedules of medications thatare used for prescribing, what is approved for use in New Zealand, what issubsidised by the Government, and what is dispensed to patients. The use of these different lists and schedules can cause confusion for doctors andpharmacists, and ultimately patients."The NZULM will help preventmisunderstandings and confusion about medicines during the managementand transfer of patient care." says Paul Cressey, Chairperson for the NZULMproject steering group. The NZULM is a continuously updated dictionary of essential and practical information about medicines for doctors, pharmacists,nurses and another professionals working with medicines. It complementsbut does not change the role of Medsafe or PHARMAC. It also complementsthe range on medicines information resources available in the sector today.The NZULM is being released for an evaluation period prior to generalrelease. Preparing the NZULM for evaluation release has been a major undertaking. Information on thousands of medicines has been gathered,recorded and checked against international standards, a first for NewZealand. More will be added during the evaluation period. "The developmentof the NZULM, through the Hutt Valley District Health Board and the nationalSafe Medication Management Programme is a significant foundation of therecently released draft National Health IT Plan" said Graeme Osborne,Director of the National IT Health Board.The NZULM is the first of a number of phases building up to the NZ Medicines Formulary, a much more completeinformation system (including clinical information about medicines) that willeventually be the first and easiest reference for doctors, pharmacists and all
 
other health workers. The NZULM can be viewed atwww.nzulm.org.nz website and will NZULM will also be integrated into prescribing anddispensing systems and other medicines information systems and resources. 
About the NZULM
The NZULM addresses a number of known issuesincluding:* Prescribers, pharmacists and others professionals working withmedicines are using different medicines lists (paper and electronic) from avariety of sources.* No sector wide approach to pharmaceutical descriptionsand coding in New Zealand.* Multiple parties are aggregating commonly usedinformation about medicines (and devices).The issues contribute to:*Avoidable prescribing, dispensing and administration errors which affectpatient safety and quality of care.* Inefficient business and/or clinicalprocesses* Duplicated effort and cost in creating, disseminating, maintainingand supporting multiple lists.* Limitation with electronic decision support.*Difficulty getting reliable of data for clinical, administrative, governance andplanning purposes.* Challenges advancing key sector strategies such asActioning Medicines New Zealand, Safe Medication Management and other ePharmacy initiatives or optimising the outcomes of these initiatives.TheNZULM is a dictionary of authoritative and standardised information aboutmedicines covering registerable medicines approved for supply in NewZealand, any products listed in the Pharmaceutical Schedule which falloutside of this category, and unapproved products supplied under Section 29of the Medicines Act, 1981 (commonly referred to as a Section 29medicines). It will be extended over time to include complementarymedicines.The NZULM supports eHealth initiatives such as ePrescribing, theNZ Medicine Formulary for decision support and a NZ Product Catalogue.Atits heart is the medicines terminology. Medicines are described and codedusing the SNOMED CT international standards for medicines terminology. Itforms the common language and is the foundation upon which informationfrom Medsafe and PHARMAC is attached.The NZULM information includes:*Generic medicine names with cross-referencing to the product brands alongwith information on strength, form (e.g. tablets, lotion etc), and pack size (fromthe New Zealand Medicines Terminology)* Sponsor, legal classification,approved datasheet and consumer medicine information for a medicine (fromMedsafe)* Subsidy information, if any (from PHARMAC)* Availability and
 
product code information (from sector product cataloguesNZULM informationis continuously updated under strict quality assurance processes. It is free touse and can be accessed through this website and will also be availablethrough participating software systems.Importantly, there is no change to theroles of Medsafe, PHARMAC, the Pharmacy Guild who produce informationrelated to medicines. This also applies to those provides of medicinesreference information sources in common use today. In fact it complementsthe work that they do by providing pre-compiled standardised information andavoids the need for everyone to be doing this of their own accord.The NZULMis being released for evaluation shortly and will be evaluated for 3 months.Information on thousands of medicines has been gathered, recorded andchecked. The NZULM now contains almost all of the medicines commonlyprescribed in NZ along with an increasing number of over the counter (OTC)products and Section 29 medicines. More are being added daily.The purposeof the evaluation release is to test the NZULM, both the information and thesystem. In particular we need to be sure the information is fit for purpose andclinically safe. During the evaluation period we will also work with vendors onthe integration of the NZULM into their respective systems. A number of earlyadopters have been identified.
Background
Medicines New Zealand - the NewZealand medicines strategy (MNZ) was released in December 2007. The aimof MNZ is to provide an overarching policy direction aligning the medicinessector and the systems that govern the regulation, procurement, managementand use of medicines.MNZ identifies three outcomes for the New Zealandmedicines system: Quality, Safety and Efficacy, Access and Optimal Use.Importantly, it was always envisaged that the actions to deliver on MNZoutcomes will occur across the medicines sector and by a range of agencies.Actioning Medicines New Zealand is the action plan for MNZ. Moreinformation is available athttp://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/indexmh/actioning-medicines-nz.Budget 2008, "Investing in the Medicine Sector", allocatedfunding from FY2008/09 ongoing for the development of a New ZealandMedicines Formulary (NZMF). The NZMF is intended to be a core medicinesinformation resource across the New Zealand health system, and to be usedas "one-stop shop" and first reference source for prescribers, dispensers andthose administering medicines in both primary and secondary care.The NZMFsupports the MNZ outcomes by contributing to safe consistent practice andquality improvement. It does this through standardised and evidence based

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