Pharma

Drug Naming Standard Enhanced

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The RxNorm clinical drugs standard has been enhanced to include First DataBank’s set of national drug codes to ensure more accurate and complete connections between the codes. The RxNorm vocabulary is produced by the National Library of Medicine at NIH and provides standard names and identifiers for drugs marketed in the U.S. Physicians include RxNorm codes when writing prescriptions. Drug products that share RxNorm names have the same active ingredients, strengths and dosage forms. The First DataBank codes are widely used in the health care industry and are unique product identifiers that are affixed on medication labels and packages. According to the National Library of Medicine, the new connections between the national drug codes and the RxNorm standard could speed data entry or generate medication alerts through electronic health records. Douglas Fridsma — head of standards and interoperability at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT — said the addition of First DataBank’s national drug codes to the RxNorm codes can support the meaningful use of EHRs. Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

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