In 2022, the FAMHP launched a new medicines database in which both patients and healthcare professionals can find useful information on all medicinal products licensed in Belgium. The FAMHP aims to make medicinal information available to the general public in a user-friendly manner.
Before launching the external medicines database, the existing FAMHP databases were reviewed first. The E+R database dated back to 1973 and contained all information on medicinal products licensed in Belgium and on medicinal products that had once been licensed in Belgium. It was a very complete database. Since 2005, the FAMHP also worked with MeSeA (Medicines e-submission and e-approval), which tracked the life cycle of medicinal products and was used to follow up on authorisation files. The disadvantage of working with two databases was that the data contained in each of them had to be modified separately. This was extremely time-consuming.
“Hence the idea of creating one new medicines database: Medicinal Product Management. We started with an empty system and integrated all the necessary information into it”, Ann Verhoye testifies. “That was quite a challenge. Going from two databases to one without losing any data, required tremendous work. Fortunately, we already had experience and knew how to create a user-friendly database. We tried to apply all the improvement points as best we could. And with success, as the new internal database was well received within the FAMHP.”
“The new databases have the advantage of having been designed and developed entirely within the FAMHP. So both their maintenance and evolution can happen internally thanks to our ICT division. A monitoring system is also integrated, allowing us to quickly notice anomalies and make adjustments at short notice,” explains Ann Van Den Broucke of the Proper Use Division.
The project did not always go smoothly, though. “We hit a few bumps along the way. The corona pandemic in particular caused a delay: all of a sudden, our priorities shifted completely. Nevertheless, we are very satisfied with the end result. We listened to the users and responded to their needs. The database is also much more accessible to patients. We really did everything we could to make the most of it,” says Ann Verhoye.
“And the reactions of the users confirm that,” Ann Van Den Broucke explains. “The initial reactions were positive. In fact, the internal database is used by many different departments within our agency. Whereas our colleagues had to update each database for every single medicinal product, they can now do so in one smooth motion for an entire group of medicinal products. This saves them a considerable amount of time.” The new databases are therefore a huge step forward in managing files related to medicinal products. This project proves the importance of innovation within the FAMHP.
Ann Van Den broucke
Ann Verhoye is staff member at the Directorate-General PRE authorisation and Ann Van Den Broucke is in charge of management support at the Proper Use Division. They worked as programme co-ordinators on the new medicines databases. While teaming up with other experienced colleagues at the FAMHP, they were able to develop two user-friendly databases, one for internal use and one for external use.