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[e-drug] WHO definition of Drug Information Centre (cont'd)

E-drug: WHO definition of Drug Information Centre (cont'd)

For those without access to the "Practice Standard for Provision of
Drug Information Services" document of the South African Hospital
Pharmacists Association referred to by Kavita (I can e-mail it to you if
you wish) it contains the following definitions:

* A drug information centre (DIC)* is defined by the World Health
Organisation (WHO) as an independent centre that is accessible to
any health professional to ask all questions about drug therapy.
However this definition excludes DIC's situated in a hospital or those
which specialise in a specific area of drug information e.g. toxicology.

Three physical criteria, which define an information centre are:
1. Specific room set aside as location for DIC
2. At least one dedicated and trained pharmacist must be available to
answer queries.
3. Sufficient information should be available to answer a broad scope
of queries.

* A drug information service* describes the activities undertaken by
pharmacists in providing information to optimise drug use. It is those
services which encompass the activities of specially trained
individuals to provide accurate, unbiased, factual information which is
primarily given in response to patient-oriented drug problems
received from pharmacists, nurses, physicians, and other healthcare
<end quote>

It thus tries to distinguishes between a "centre" and a "service" in
relation to DI activities in hospitals and states in the introduction that
"although the provision of a drug information centre would be the
ideal to strive for this is not always practical within the arena of limited
resources". The document makes no further relevant reference to this
distinction. It is still not clear where the supposed "WHO definition"
comes from although from the reference list it may have originated
from a talk at a WHO-sponsored meeting on DI centres without being
an official definition - it certainly appears to be too restrictive and
open to debate to be 'official'. Our South African E-drug/INDICES
colleagues who contributed to the practice standard document may
be able to further enlighten us.


Douglas Ball

Dept. of Pharmacy Practice
Faculty of Pharmacy, Health Sciences Center
University of Kuwait, PO Box 24923 Safat 13110
Tel: (965)531-2300 ext. 6048
Fax: (965)534-2807
E-mail: dball@hsc.kuniv.edu.kw 
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