The need for health care is growing and is becoming more complex, as the number of chronic (elderly) patients increases, which in turn leads to an increased use of medication. Therefore, medication safety needs to meet increasingly more stringent requirements.
At the moment, the Netherlands has 2.4 million inhabitants who are 65 years of age or older. This number will have risen to 2.8 million by the end of 2013 (or 17% of the entire population). The ageing population will burden the Dutch health care system with an increasing incidence of chronic patients and chronic use of medication. There is an estimate of nearly 20,000 medication-related hospital admissions per year in the Netherlands.
Approximately 60% of all patients aged 65+ are affected by multimorbidity (having two or more chronic illnesses). Consequently, the odds for polypharmacy (the use of five or more medications) increases with the increasing age of the population. Amongst the Dutch 65+ population, more than 40% use more than 5 medications, while 12% use more than 10 medications simultaneously. Polypharmacy increases the risk of complications and the inappropriate use of medication disproportionally. Furthermore, undertreatment is more frequent in this vulnerable population. Polypharmacy and undertreatment are especially common in nursing homes. The electronic patient file (Landelijk Schakelpunt) is one of the current initiatives to improve the exchange of information regarding medication among health care professionals.
The days of separate and limited sources of information, information overload due to irrelevant indications and overlooking relevant data are history with Clinical Rules.
Clinical Rules assesses data from various sources, including lab reports, diagnoses, and medication, and allows health care professionals (doctors as well as pharmacists) to instantly identify potential problems. It is important to note that this allows for a more purposeful use of communication regarding medication within the chain of care. Clinical Rules is independent: it can be linked to any health care IT system. The patient's privacy is guaranteed at all times: Clinical Rules only makes use of anonymised patient data and does not create or keep patient files. Clinical Rules helps keep health care affordable without affecting its quality by contributing to the prevention of unnecessary medication-related hospital admissions. Moreover: the speed and detail in which patient details are analysed within Clinical Rules give health care professionals more time and energy to focus on their main priorities: the patient and the prevention of medication-related problems.