McGill, CHUM acquire drug software
MONTREAL – Montreal’s two big
teaching hospitals are preparing to install a new medication management
system that’s expected to enhance patient safety. The hospitals are the
McGill University Health Centre and the Centre hospitalier de
l’Université de Montréal, both of which are multi-site organizations.
The software system, Rx Vigilance, contains a database of thousands of
drugs and will alert doctors when possible adverse drug interactions are
Developed by Vigilance Santé, of Quebec City, the software also takes
the patient record into account, and screens for such factors as age,
disease, dosing and possible duplication of medications with a patient’s
existing drug regimen.
“It’ll save people,” said Jeffrey Barkun, chief of technological
transition at the McGill centre. “This will lead to a very significant
drop in medication errors.”
A 2006 study found that medication problems accounted for the
hospitalization of more than 31 percent of elderly Montrealers. Errors
involving heart medications were among the most frequently blamed for
Lead researcher Isabelle Payot warned that “it’s urgent that prevention
strategies be established, since half of the hospitalizations could have
Each year, doctors fill out hundreds of thousands of prescriptions at
the MUHC and the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal.
“Until now, physicians did not have a choice when it came to looking up
(drug) contra-indications or interactions,” explained Luc Valiquette,
chairperson of the clinical information system committee at the CHUM.
“They either had to consult product monographs online or reference
books.” “ From now on, they will have access to a state-of-the-art care
management tool that is continually updated.”
The Rx Vigilance software is capable of alerting physicians to errors
that are often difficult to detect. For example, if a patient with
kidney problems appears at the hospital complaining of an infection, the
doctor may ordinarily prescribe an antibiotic. However, for that
patient, the software will warn that the chosen dosage is actually
toxic, and that a smaller dosage is required.
When the new software is phased in next spring, it will also produce
electronic prescriptions, resulting in clearer and more readily
understandable scripts for both patients and pharmacists.
About Vigilance Santé
Rx Vigilance was developed by Vigilance Santé, a Quebec-based company
founded in 1991. Vigilance Santé founder and President Raymond
Chevalier, who also happens to be a pharmacist, developed this tool in
an effort to simplify operations in his pharmacy. The premise behind Rx
Vigilance is that as the number of medications continues to grow, the
work of health care professionals is becoming increasingly demanding and
complex and, as such, they must have access to high performance
computer-based tools that are adapted to their daily practice. Content
is entirely Canadian and therefore takes Health Canada notices into
consideration. Today, Rx Vigilance is used in more than 1500 private
pharmacies across Canada and by hospital pharmacists in some 175 health
About the CHUM and the MUHC
World-renowned hospital centres: with more than 20,000 employees and
over 2 million patient visits per year, the CHUM and the MUHC offer
specialized and ultra-specialized care to clients both regionally and
supra-regionally. The mission of the CHUM and the MUHC includes care,
research, teaching, the assessment of technologies and modes of
intervention in health and, at the CHUM, the promotion of health.