Medication look up is done to identify drugs (prescription drugs, OTC drugs, generic names and brand names of drugs) and detailed information about these drugs.
The problem of wrong medication, incorrect prescription and/or dosing is becoming a common and a very serious issue in clinical practice. Undoubtedly, doctors, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals had made effort to ensure that patients are given the correct medication without error. But because human beings are not perfect, mistakes are sometimes obtainable in medical practice. Hence, automated medication look up intended to provide a better approach to drug handling becomes invaluable.
A properly done medication look up, even without much support from the physicians will ensure that the patients are protected as regards their medication dosing and administration.
To carry out medication check successfully, certain tool should come to play amongst which is the pill finder.
The pill finder is a tool used in pill identification. It can also be referred to as the pill identifier. This will help to match the imprint (the pill ID), size, shape or colour of the pill to the ones in the RxList database. When a match is found, the pill finder user will be directed to the detailed description of the drug in the database.
In a more explicit context, the pill identifier tool will help the user identify pills, drug prescriptions and other drugs using their colour, size, shape and most importantly the imprint (pill ID). All that is required is to correctly match the imprint of the pill in search to that in the database for a quick identification.
Steps for using the pill identification/pill finder tool
- The imprint code inscribed in the medication is entered either in the form of numbers or letters as seen on the side of the pill or tablet;
- The tool will display a drop down menu from where the pill colour can be selected;
- Also, the shape of the pills is selected from the subsequent drop down menu of the pill identification tool.
Once the pill ID match is found, the user will be directed to a detailed description, drug picture and/or image in the RxList drug database.
The RxList is described as an online medical resource (database) of the United States prescription medications which provides full information as regards drug prescription and patient education. The contents of the RxList are written by healthcare professionals (pharmacists, physicians). The data in this drug information list is provided by credible sources such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), First Data Bank and others.
The Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR) is another drug information source similar to the RxList but houses drug manufacturers’ prescribing information.
The PDR is known to be a compilation of manufacturers’ prescribing information on prescription drugs. It is published commercially and updated once in a year. The information published in the PDR is FDA approved as it is designed to give physicians and sometimes medical specialists legally mandated information important in writing prescriptions.
Additionally, the PDR is available in several formats and has also been incorporated into the Electronic Health Record Systems.
Proper medication look up, undoubtedly play vital roles in clinical practice, hence need to be adopted in hospitals, pharmacies and in other health activity related clinics to ensure accuracy in drug dispensing, drug dosing/administration and ultimately minimize errors associated with patients’ medication.