E-prescription for The Norwegian Medicines Agency
Since February 2013 the entire Norwegian population has had the possibility to receive electronic prescriptions from doctors, and pick up medicines at any pharmacy in the country. In addition to making everyday life easier for people, doctors, pharmacies and surgical appliance dealers, e-prescription has been a big boost for patient safety with increased access to personal medical data and reduced risk of medication errors and dispensing errors.
E-prescription is a large and comprehensive project led by the Directorate of Health with many collaborators. The Norwegian Medicines Agency administers information about all pharmaceuticals in Norway, and this data basis is a prerequisite for the introduction of e-prescription. The Medicines Agency wished to increase quality, safety and accessibility for their data, and they needed a more efficient way to administer them.
Together with the Medicines Agency we have realized the wish for a central, national source for all pharmaceuticals information in Norway. The data can now be registered, approved, updated and quality assured in an internal professional system, and shared and used by the other participants in the e-prescription chain through their separate services. The solution meets stringent requirements for safety and quality.
Previously, there were about as many ways to prescribe pharmaceuticals as there were doctors. The result of the project has been very important in working with an agreement for a common terminology, and in standardizing pharmaceuticals information throughout Norway.
The solution we have delivered consists of five main parts:
- Athene, a professional system for registering and approval of pharmaceuticals for the Norwegian market. Athene replaces three former professional systems.
- FEST, a service that makes the data in Athene accessible to the rest of the participants in the e-prescription chain.
- Apollon, functionality for publishing data via the FEST service
- If the physician is to prescribe a medicine without a marketing license in Norway, an application for approval exemption must be submitted. We have created the professional system Godkjenningsfritak, Approval Exemption, where the applications are processed
- Apotekregisteret, the Pharmacy Register, a register for issuance of license to operate pharmacy in Norway. Necessary in order for a pharmacy to process e-prescriptions
We have also assisted the Medicines Agency with participation in the national e-prescription program for planning and mapping processes and needs for collaboration across all stakeholders.
What we did
- Data and information modeling
- Interaction design
- System development
- Test and test management
- Service development
- Project management
We worked together with the Medicines Agency following an agile project methodology, which has been very successful. Professionals from the Medicines Agency have been closely involved and a natural part of our scrum teams throughout the entire course of the project. The solution has been in continuous development, also after the project was delivered. We have a permanent team at the Agency working with administration and further development of the Medicines Agency’s solutions.
5 star FEST
The FEST service has an increasing number of consumers, and the current version is designed in a way that does not scale well enough. Together with the Medicines Agency we are working on a pilot version of the new FEST, based on linked open data corresponding to 5 stars on the Tim Berners-Lee scheme for data publishing.
In the new FEST version, it will be possible to extract the exact data structure needed. This is an advantage since FEST is meant to cover many different users with many individual needs. Direct online lookup also provides better possibilities for mobile use. The administration of changes becomes simpler, and the data basis can also be expanded with information from external sources. This way the Medicines Agency can offer a much larger information base than today.
Technology we used
- .Net 4.0 C#
- ClickOnce smart client
- MS SQLServer 2012
- Public 360
- DIPS Communicatior
- Microsoft Team Foundation Server(TFS)
- Windows Communication Foundation (WCF)
- Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)
- Semantic Web and linked open data (RDF, OWL, SPARQL)