Documentation of Drug Information Service

By Tom Ma, Msc. Clinical Pharmacy, Pharmacy


Provision of drug information service is one of the fundamental responsibilities of pharmacist. International guidelines stated that appropriate documentation of drug information inquiries is essential to be an effective provider of drug information.

Pharmacists perform systematic search for drug information inquiries. The process involves reviewing and filtering information from various sources such as package insert, online databases, reference books and literatures. Therefore, systematic search is a time-consuming process. A documentation system could help to preserve efforts made by pharmacists for previously answered questions.

Purpose and Problem Statement

There is no practice of documenting drug information inquiry in HKSH pharmacy. Doctors and nurses handle similar drugs in the hospital and hence often have similar inquiries. Without an appropriate platform for pharmacist to document the inquiries they handled previously, duplicated efforts will be made and hence a lower efficiency of the service will be resulted.

The project aims to provide a readily retrievable archive for previously answered drug information inquiries. It also aims to improve pharmacist’s satisfaction and efficiency in handling drug information inquiries.

Implementation Plan

An electronic database for documentation of drug information inquiry was in a 1-month trial period (July 2019) in the pharmacy. Pharmacists in HKSH documented the drug information inquiries they handled during the trial period into the electronic database (accessible from all computers in the pharmacy). The entries were listed on the database in chronological order. Pharmacists can search any previously answered drug information inquiry by keywords or the classification.

A survey on satisfaction and efficiency of the drug information service in HKSH pharmacy was conducted to pharmacists in HKSH both before and after the trial period of the database.


Pharmacists can save information gathered for answered drug information inquiry in the database and hence eliminates duplicated efforts when similar drug information enquiries are encountered. This is shown in the result, the percentage of pharmacists either agree or strongly agree that repeated efforts are made on similar drug information inquiries drops from 75% to 25% after the trial period of the database.

The database improves pharmacists’ satisfaction in the practice of handling drug information inquiries in the pharmacy. After the trial period of the database, the percentage of pharmacists satisfied with the practice raised sharply from 17% to 75%.

96% of the pharmacists consider the database to be a useful tool. Besides, all pharmacists with working experience less than 5 years strongly agree that the database is a useful tool in handling drug information inquiry. It indicates that the database is an important experience-sharing tool for less-experienced pharmacists.

Recommendations and Next Steps

Some improvements to the database were identified during the trial period. Pharmacists should only document inquiries that require extensive time for the systematic search. Also, it is crucial to maintain the integrity of information in the database by limiting the authority to edit the entries in the database.

The database serves as a good tool for data collection of drug information enquiries received in the pharmacy. With the database, frequently asked questions from different kinds of requestor can be easily identified. Educational talks focusing on commonly seen drug information questions can be organized for colleagues in the pharmacy or nurses.