October 15, 2004

VUMC’s informatics strengths shine in rapid response to Vioxx situation

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Monroe Carell Jr.

VUMC’s informatics strengths shine in rapid response to Vioxx situation

The Vioxx recall has prompted Vanderbilt to make new use of disease management capabilities of VUMC electronic medical record applications.

Using enhanced search capabilities, Vanderbilt has identified its patients who at any time during the past two years have been noted in the medications section of their problem list as receiving Vioxx or its generic equivalent.

Chief Medical Officer C. Wright Pinson, M.D., this week sent a brief letter to these patients informing them of the manufacturer's voluntary recall, and recommending that, if they're currently taking Vioxx, to stop and contact their doctor's office to discuss an alternative.

“Vanderbilt's biomedical informatics capabilities pay many important dividends for patients and for our system of care,” Pinson said. “This ability to mount a rapid, targeted response to a sudden public health issue is one more instance of that, and one more distinction setting Vanderbilt apart from other medical centers in the region.”

The quick response illustrates how computer experts and clinicians work hand in hand at VUMC. When the Vioxx recall was announced, a call from Assistant Chief Medical Officer Jim N. Jirjis, M.D., prompted Vanderbilt's leader for medical records applications, Dario A. Giuse, Ph.D., to tweak a program to allow users to limit a medical record keyword search to the medications section of the patient problem list. “When there is a need that is immediate, we have the ability and willingness to react,” Giuse said.

Users of VUMC medical records applications can learn more about searching the medications section of the patient problem list by turning their Web browser to http://sss.mc.vanderbilt.edu/jirjisslides2.ppt.