I came upon the following a few days ago.
eHealth Initiative launches collaboration aimed at improving drug safety
By Molly Merrill, Contributing Writer 11/29/07
WASHINGTON - The eHealth Initiative Foundation has launched a collaborative research effort designed to improve drug safety for patients through the use of information technology.
The project, called eHI Connecting Communities for Drug Safety Collaboration, is a public-private sector effort, which will test and evaluate the value and utility of blinded, anonymized, electronic clinical health information to detect and evaluate drug safety signals.
The collaboration is coordinated and led by the eHealth Initiative, with guidance from eHI's multi-stakeholder Leadership Council, the collaboration involves three healthcare companies - Pfizer Inc. , Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly and Company and two community-based healthcare organizations - Partners HealthCare System and the Regenstrief Institute.
John Glaser, PhD, VP and CIO Partners HealthCare said, "New, innovative approaches are needed to increase the timeliness and effectiveness with which we can identify drug safety issues. This collaboration gives us an opportunity to assess the feasibility of using clinical data for these issues, and develop methodologies that can be replicated by others."
Over a 12-month period, collaboration participants will test and evaluate safety signals using a combination of clinical and administrative data for three "use cases," including the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs and laboratory results related to liver failure, warfarin-related bleeding episodes, and a small set of adverse patient events commonly associated with medications, or "designated medical events" through research conducted in two clinical environments in Indianapolis and Boston.
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It seems to me this is really an excellent initiative to try and see what can be done to improve our early warning systems to detect when the introduction of a new medicine is causing unexpected side effects that need to be assessed before too much harm is done
Using the resources of some major drug companies and the EHR skills and Health IT deployments of the two large community based organisations makes perfect sense and should lead to clear answers as to the possible and its benefits quite quickly.
More power to their arm to trying to actualise the potential of what Health Affairs describes as Rapid Learning Health IT