All computers at Heidelberg University Hospital in Germany may soon be installed with an innovative electronic system called AiDPainCare, which can make pain therapy more effective and better tolerated, besides reducing cancer patients' fears of pain.
An articled published in the journal Pain says that the electronic pain relief guide has been successfully tested at the hospital.
The report states that the novel system is an additional instrument of the electronic pharmaceutical guide AiDKlinik, which guides physicians safely through the current pharmaceutical market in Germany with over 64,000 products and successfully helps avoid false dosages, side effects, dangerous drug interaction, and duplications in prescriptions.
The medication prescribed by the physician can be transferred from AiDKlinik directly to a prescription or medical report. The system is currently in use in 10 hospitals in Germany, and can also be subscribed to by physicians in private practice.
"The safety of drug therapy from prescribing to administering is a central aspect of our work," explains Professor Walter E. Haefeli, Medical Director, Department of Internal Medicine VI, Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacoepidemiology.
In a pilot phase of the study, the researchers determined that in pain treatment begun outside the hospital, underdosing with morphine-based analgesics was common and so-called co-analgesics, e.g. antidepressants or cortisone products, were not used sufficiently.
"Co-analgesics in particular can frequently improve pain therapy in patients, but are still being prescribed too rarely," said Dr. Thilo Bertsche, director of the Clinical Pharmacy unit.
The use of AiDPainCare was found to improve the competent prescribing of such co-analgesics, and of opioid (opiate-based) pain medication to treat pain peaks and breakthrough pain.
In this area especially, according to the researchers, AiDPainCare was used to support physician's therapy for individual patients.
The team also say that the module provides quick access to general principles on treatment with opioids and legal information. This, they say, should reduce unfounded fears about prescribing a narcotic.
Flyers designed especially for patients can also be printed, they add.