Author: Benjamin R. Pearson
Although upwards of 32,000 adverse drug reactions are reported to Health Canada annually, this represents only approximately 5% of cases experienced by Canadians every year. This gross display of underreporting not only results in unrepresentative data in regards to adverse drug reactions, but further discredits databases used by healthcare professionals and in turn compromises the health and safety of Canadians. Major causes of underreporting seen in the literature are ignorance, diffidence and lethargy displayed by healthcare professionals. While Health Canada relies on these professionals to voluntarily report adverse drug reactions, the potential exists for an automated reporting system to remove causes of underreporting. Through integrating such a system with current health informatics technologies such as the electronic health record and utilizing existing health system communication technologies, healthcare professionals will be provided with representative data of adverse drug reactions in Canada and in turn be able to better serve their patients.