Doctors and pharmacists want improvements in drug interaction alerts

12 December 2011

An NPS survey has identified a number of improvements for drug interaction alerts in prescribing and dispensing software to better meet the information needs of GPs and pharmacists.

Results from the survey to find out what GPs and pharmacists want in drug interaction alerts in prescribing and dispensing software have been published in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA).

Over 300 GPs and community pharmacists responded to the survey, which found that there appears to be a gap between the current offerings of some software systems and what users are looking for.

The three most important things GPs and pharmacists would like addressed in drug interaction alerts are:

  • Increasing the relevance of drug interaction alerts to practice;
  • Improving the format and presentation of drug interaction alerts; and
  • Differentiation of drug interaction alerts by severity.

NPS found that GPs and pharmacists value decision support for potential drug interactions, but the information and its presentation could be improved.  

Health professionals want clearer guidance on the severity and clinical effects of drug interactions, as well as how to manage drug interactions. In particular, they want this information to be displayed in a way that is quick and easy to navigate and read in a busy practice or pharmacy.

NPS CEO Dr Lynn Weekes says the research is especially valuable in terms of identifying improvements that can be applied in practice.

“This research has enabled NPS to develop a number of recommendations to improve drug interaction decision support in prescribing and dispensing software,” says Dr Weekes.

“By better meeting the information needs of GPs and pharmacists, software vendors and providers of knowledge bases can help support patient safety and quality use of medicines in practice.”

The full article is available on the MJA website


Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS enables better decisions about medicines and medical tests.We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.