Rxplore: a new way to explore medication side effects visually

Journal of Biomedical Informatics

Patients on multiple medications are at increased risk for adverse drug events. While physicians can reduce this risk by regularly reviewing the side-effect profiles of their patients’ medications, this process can be time-consuming. We created a decision support system designed to expedite reviewing potential adverse reactions through information visualization. The system includes a database containing 16,340 unique drug and side-effect pairs, representing 250 common medications. A numeric score is assigned to each pair reflecting the strength of association between drug and effect. Based on these scores, the system generates graphical adverse reaction maps for any user-selected combination of drugs. A study comparing speed and accuracy of retrieving side-effect data using this tool versus UpToDate demonstrated a 60% reduction in time to complete a query (61 s vs. 155 s, p < 0.0001) with no decrease in accuracy. These findings suggest that information visualization can significantly expedite review of potential adverse drug events. – J Biomed Inform. 2010 Apr;43(2):326-3

The visual support tool mentioned in the abstract above is called Rxplore and was developed by Jon D. Duke, M.D., a medical informatics fellow at the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Rxplore is an application designed to give healthcare providers a graphical representation of the top 10 side effects associated with a particular medication. In addition the user can chose to view only side effects related to a particular specialty such as gastroenterology, although I’m not sure I see the wisdom in doing something like that.

This is could be a great tool for physicians and pharmacists alike. Not only does it look like a neat toy, but it could be used as a simple way to explain potential side effects to patients; you know, the whole “picture is worth a thousands words” thing. I would love the opportunity to play with Rxplore and have requested an opportunity to help the makers beta test it. I’ll let you know how that goes.

There’s a nice video of Rxplore in action at www.Rxplore.com/AMIA.

The press release can be found here.

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