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BMJ Open 2:e000642 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000642
  • Pharmacology and therapeutics
    • Research

A question–answer pair (QAP) database integrated with websites to answer complex questions submitted to the Regional Medicines Information and Pharmacovigilance Centres in Norway (RELIS): a descriptive study

  1. Tone Westergren6
  1. 1Section of Clinical Pharmacology, Laboratory of Clinical Biochemistry, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
  2. 2Section of Pharmacology, Institute of Medicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  3. 3Regional Medicines Information and Pharmacovigilance Centre (RELIS Vest), Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
  4. 4Faculty of Health Sciences, Nord-Trøndelag University College, Steinkjer, Norway
  5. 5Regional Medicines Information and Pharmacovigilance Centre (RELIS Midt-Norge), St. Olav's Hospital, Trondheim, Norway
  6. 6Regional Medicines Information and Pharmacovigilance Centre (RELIS Sør-Øst), Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jan Schjøtt; jan.didrik.schjott{at}helse-bergen.no
  • Received 17 November 2011
  • Accepted 16 February 2012
  • Published 15 March 2012

Abstract

Objective To assess a question–answer pair (QAP) database integrated with websites developed for drug information centres to answer complex questions effectively.

Design Descriptive study with comparison of two subsequent 6-year periods (1995–2000 and 2001–2006).

Setting The Regional Medicines Information and Pharmacovigilance Centres in Norway (RELIS).

Participants A randomised sample of QAPs from the RELIS database.

Primary outcome measure Answer time in days compared with Mann–Whitney U test.

Secondary outcome measure Number of drugs involved (one, two, three or more), complexity (judgemental and/or patient-related or not) and literature search (none, simple or advanced) compared with χ2 tests.

Results 842 QAPs (312 from 1995 to 2000 and 530 from 2001 to 2006) were compared. The fraction of judgemental and patient-related questions increased (66%–75% and 54%–72%, respectively, p<0.01). Number of drugs and literature search (>50% advanced) was similar in the two periods, but the fraction of answers referring to the RELIS database increased (13%–31%, p<0.01). Median answer time was reduced from 2 days to 1 (p<0.01), although the fraction of complex questions increased from the first to the second period. Furthermore, the mean number of questions per employee per year increased from 66 to 89 from the first to the second period.

Conclusions The authors conclude that RELIS has a potential to efficiently answer complex questions. The model is of relevance for organisation of drug information centres.

Footnotes

  • To cite: Schjøtt J, Reppe LA, Roland P-DH, et al. A question–answer pair (QAP) database integrated with websites to answer complex questions submitted to the Regional Medicines Information and Pharmacovigilance Centres in Norway (RELIS): a descriptive study. BMJ Open 2012;2:e000642. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000642

  • Contributors JS planned the manuscript and wrote it. LAR collected and analysed the material from the RELIS database. PDHR provided historical and technical data on the RELIS model. TW and JS designed the figure. JS designed the table. All authors revised the manuscript for important intellectual content and discussed drafts towards approval of the final version.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement All QAPs used in this study were obtained from the public RELIS database, which is searchable in Norwegian for healthcare professionals free of charge. QAPs from the database were compared with the information in the associated paper version (all documents and information on handling of the question) saved in archives in the respective RELIS centre.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/ and http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode.

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