Safe and effective medicines: Informatics for best practice

The annual conference of the Southern Institute for Health Informatics, SIHI 2016, at the University of Portsmouth on 20 May addresses the vital contribution of informatics to medicines optimisation.

The annual NHS expenditure on medication is over £15 billion, yet within ten days of a new prescription a third of patients do not take it as directed. Many patients experience avoidable drug errors due to incomplete information sharing between care providers. Current health policy articulates patient empowerment as an essential driver for change, and highlights computerised personal health records as a means to support that.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has led work with NHS England, the Royal College of GPs, the Royal College of Nursing and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry to develop a framework for medicines optimisation. The first guiding principle of the framework is aiming to understand the patient’s experience. The principle aims to have a positive influence on patient engagement and their adherence to prescribed treatment. This accords with the current IT strategy for the NHS in England, which has the theme of ‘personalised care’ and pins its hopes on patient self-management reducing demand for NHS services. The safety and quality aims of medicines optimisation and digital health are closely aligned and we want to highlight the opportunities this presents and the challenges to overcome.

We will have national and regional keynote speakers and a range of invited and submitted presentations. In addition, the InfoMart, an informal information marketplace area, will allow vendors and researchers to set out a stall to meet people and exchange information. SIHI each year brings together practitioners, vendors and academics from across the range of health informatics domains to participate in learning and discussion on the latest progress and issues.