A Drug Utilization Study: Use of Sedative Hypnotic Drugs in Acute Care, Hospital In-patients
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This report summarizes the internship work of Kunal Mohindra, a Master in Health Informatics candidate (2009-2011) for the period: May 3, 2010 – August 31, 2010. The internship was completed as a part of the HINF 7000: Internship course with Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS. The project undertaken during the internship period was a drug utilization study on sedative hypnotic drugs. It was conducted at the Victoria General site of the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia. The main objective of the study was to examine the use of sedative hypnotic drugs, for acute care in-patients over a period of 6 years (2004-2010). This retrospective study utilized the drug use prescription data from the Pharmacy database, Centricity at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Descriptive statistics were used to examine the use of sedative hypnotic drugs by each service, both annually and quarterly. The experience of working in a „real world? setting throughout the summer of 2010 has enabled the author to find some areas where Health Informatics solutions can be applied to improve health outcomes. Recommendations: 1. Nova Scotia should have a common drug formulary that can be followed by all the 35 acute care facilities in Nova Scotia. This would help in preventing medication errors, when a patient is shifted from one health institution to the other, within Nova Scotia. 2. At Capital Health, the preprinted physician orders that have sedative hypnotic drugs on them should include some information on improving sleep hygiene. This might help reduce the use of sedative hypnotic drugs. 3. General education on the harmful effects of sedative hypnotic drugs should be provided to physicians and other health care providers. Also, education on the other non - pharmacological alternatives for sleep should be provided and their use should be encouraged. 4. Work on the implementation of a computerized physician order entry system should be initiated at Capital Health. Once the system is operational, it can be programmed to generate alerts as soon as a physician orders sedative hypnotic drugs. The alerts can include information on the adverse effects of these drugs and links to information on improving sleep hygiene.