A 10-year contract to develop and operate a national medicines information resource bore its first fruit with the launch yesterday of the New Zealand Formulary.
Formulary editorial advisory board chair and Otago University professor of medicine John Campbell says the medicines information resource has been delivered on time, on budget and, “fingers crossed, to specifications”.
- Murray Tilyard (Otago Medical School general practice professor) says he has no doubt the formulary will save lives, reduce mortality and prove extremely cost-effective.
- Much of the information can already be viewed at www.nzf.org.nz but the full resource becomes available to the sector from 8am on Monday 23 July. Additional material will include a downloadable e-book in various formats (tablet-friendly). An iPhone app is planned.
- The resource belongs to the Crown and is provided free to the health sector and the public as the default system for the country. It does not preclude use of other systems.
- Integration into primary and secondary systems would be the next stage.
- Integration into general practice management systems is on the radar at vendor companies. The aim is for community and hospital pharmacy also to incorporate the data.
- IT Health Board chair Murray Milner says he will consider “carrots and sticks” for industry should this be needed in the transition. Some funding may be available where there are roadblocks, he says.
- MyPractice chief executive Ashwin Patel says his company is working on integration. He does not anticipate charging more for PMS systems. Most of the functions required are already in the system, using data from the British eMC, which the New Zealand Formulary will replace, he says.
- Evaluation so far indicates the new data reduce the amount of prescription querying between GP and pharmacist, Dr Patel says.
The BPAC/British joint venture
- Based on the British National Formulary, the resource has been modified for New Zealand medications and practice.
- Duncan Enright, the British formulary’s publishing director, says it is the first time the formulary has been digitised and localised for another health system.
- The NZ formulary partnership is made up of two best practice organisations, BPACnz and BPACinc*, and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, half-owner of the British National Formulary.
- The formulary’s managing editor, former pharmacist, academic and consultant David Woods, of Dunedin, says the formulary will update automatically via a feed from the BNF.
* BPACnz is owned by general practice networks South Link Health, Pegasus and Procare, plus Otago University and General Practice New Zealand. BPACinc is a partnership between Otago University of Otago and South Link Health. Professor Tilyard is executive director of both South Link and BPACnz, and an executive member of BPACinc.