Performance of community pharmacy drug interaction software

J Am Pharm Assoc (Wash). Mar-Apr 2001;41(2):200-4. doi: 10.1016/s1086-5802(16)31230-x.


Objective: To evaluate the performance of computerized drug-drug interaction (DDI) software in identifying clinically important drug-drug interactions.

Design: One-time performance test of computer systems using a standard set of prescriptions.

Setting: Community pharmacies or central corporate locations with pharmacy terminals identical to those used in actual pharmacies.

Participants: Chain and health maintenance organization (HMO) pharmacies with seven or more practice sites in Washington State. A total of nine different DDI software programs were installed in 516 community pharmacies represented by these chains and HMOs.

Main outcome measures: Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of software in detecting 16 well-established DDIs contained within six fictitious patient profiles.

Results: The software systems failed to detect clinically relevant DDIs one-third of the time. Sensitivity of the software programs ranged from 0.44 to 0.88, with 1.00 being perfect; specificity ranged from 0.71 to 1.00; positive predictive value ranged from 0.67 to 1.00; and negative predictive value ranged from 0.69 to 0.90. For software packages that were installed at different locations, between-installation differences were observed.

Conclusion: The performance of most DDI-detecting software programs tested in this study was suboptimal. Improvement is needed to advance their contribution to detection of DDIs.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Drug Interactions*
  • Drug Therapy, Computer-Assisted
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Humans
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control*
  • Pharmacies / standards*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Software*
  • Washington