Call to include complementary meds evidence in clinical software
EVIDENCE-BASED data on complementary medicines should be fully integrated into GP prescribing software to prevent doctors basing clinical decisions on flawed information resources.
The call from academics follows a National Prescribing Service review of 52 complementary medicine databases, websites and books commonly used by GPs, which were found to be lacking.
Researchers assessed the resources based on 10 typical consumer questions, and ranked the resources based on the quality of the response provided. Only six received a confidence rating of 95% or higher.
Problems identified with the resources included a lack of dosage information, particularly for children, and a lack of details on Australian formulations.
Report co-author and chair of the RACGP-Australasian Integrative Medicine Association working party Dr Vicki Kotsirilos has now called for these six databases to be linked to GP prescribing software.
“There is limited information at the moment and this [would] help doctors evaluate complementary medicines,” she said.
Avant general manager of clinical risk management Dr Paul Nisselle backed the idea, but warned against uploading complementary medicine drug interactions into prescribing software.
“It just becomes colour and movement and the more information there is, the less likely it will be read,” he said.
An online database would be more helpful, he said, adding that GPs who discussed or recommended complementary medicines to their patients were also obliged to discuss what scientific evidence supported them.
However, Medical Software Industry Association secretary Dr Andrew Magennis questioned the financial viability of the proposal. He said if software vendors had to pay to incorporate the links to the databases, these costs would inevitably be passed on to GPs.
“[The NPS] is looking to someone to fund this. The information does exist, but it’s mainly overseas and it’s for a price. Users already pay $700 a year to get drug updates; if they have to pay an additional $US1500 [$2200], will they pay?” he asked.