Medicines list first step in IT plan

Universal List of Medicines will underpin National Health IT Plan

A New Zealand Universal List of Medicines launched last week is a significant foundation of the draft National Health IT Plan, says Graeme Osborne, director of the National IT Health Board.

The NZULM is a continuously updated dictionary of essential and practical information about medicines during the management and transfer of patient care.

It is the first of a number of phases building up to the New Zealand Medicines Formulary, a much more complete information system (including clinical information about medicines) that will eventually be the first and easiest reference for doctors, pharmacists and all other health workers.

The list has been released for an evaluation period before general release.

Paul Cressey, chairperson of the NZULM project steering group, says information on thousands of medicines has been gathered and checked against international standards, a first for New Zealand. More will be added during the evaluation period.

He says it is a little known fact that there are several different lists and schedules of medications that are used for prescribing, what is approved for use in New Zealand, and what is subsidised by the government, and what is dispensed to patients.

“The use of these different lists and schedules can cause confusion for doctors and pharmacists and, ultimately, patients.

“The NZULM will help prevent misunderstandings and confusion about medicines during the management and transfer of patient care.”

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