Rothman on interaction checkers, and Matthew on DoubleCheckMD, by Matthew Holt
Medical librarian (and apparently best health care IT blogger according to the sadly ridiculous medical blog awards) David Rothman is looking at Online Drug Interaction Checkers. You’ll note that my favorite (DoubleCheckMD, and yes I’m biased!) comes out very well.
And David’s not even using it for the correct purpose. He’s just looking at which drugs are contra-indicated when used together which is a relatively minor problem both in technical terms and in terms of its impact on health—especially as all drugs have some level of interaction with each other.
DoubleCheckMD allows you to do the opposite—check which drugs or drug interactions are causing which symptoms. Given that people are on multple drugs in very complex regimens, figuring out which drug combination is causing problems is a much more complex task than just figuring out which two are contraindicated. It requires not just searching the top level coded data in the major databases )e.g. FDB or Multum), but also reading the text within the monographs in those databases. The ability to use natural language recognition to do this is what’s so special about DoubleCheckMD, and why I liked it so much that I insisted to Marlene Beggelman the CEO that she a) make me an advisor and b) put the beta out on the web!
On the other hand if the checker that Express Scripts is using can’t even get a basic interaction right, then perhaps the basic paces David is putting the checkers through is a useful exercise.
But it’s clear that we can expect much, much more from these tools in the future than just telling us if there’s an interaction. That’s a simple hit to the underlying database, and the PHR i-Beacon built in 1999 could do that easily for a multiple drug list.