Background: When new pharmaceutical products appear on the market, physicians need to know whether they are likely to be useful in their practices. Physicians currently obtain most of their information about the market release and properties of new drugs from pharmaceutical industry representatives. However, the official information contained in the summary of product characteristics (SPCs) and evaluation reports from health agencies, provide a more complete view of the potential value of new drugs, although they can be long and difficult to read. The main objective of this work was to design a prototype computer program to facilitate the objective appraisal of the potential value of a new pharmaceutical product by physicians. This prototype is based on the modeling of pharmaceutical innovations described in a previous paper.
Methods: The interface was designed to allow physicians to develop a rapid understanding of the value of a new drug for their practices. We selected five new pharmaceutical products, to illustrate the function of this prototype. We considered only the texts supplied by national or international drug agencies at the time of market release. The perceived usability of the prototype was evaluated qualitatively, except for the System Usability Scale (SUS) score evaluation, by 10 physicians differing in age and medical background.
Results: The display is based on the various axes of the conceptual model of pharmaceutical innovations. The user can select three levels of detail when consulting this information (highly synthetic, synthetic and detailed). Tables provide a comparison of the properties of the new pharmaceutical product with those of existing drugs, if available for the same indication, in terms of efficacy, safety and ease of use. The interface was highly appreciated by evaluators, who found it easy to understand and suggested no other additions of important, internationally valid information. The mean System Usability Scale score for the 10 physicians was 82, corresponding to a "good" user interface.
Conclusions: This work led us to propose the selection, grouping, and mode of presentation for various types of knowledge on pharmaceutical innovations in a way that was appreciated by evaluators. It provides physicians with readily accessible objective information about new drugs.