A drug therapy decision-making service from Saskatchewan recently received a certificate of appreciation from the Afghan National Army for its contribution to the rebuilding of Afghanistan. The service – called RxFiles – was developed in Saskatoon Health Region.

RxFiles is a medication information and education resource used by health professionals to compare pharmaceutical drugs, explore alternatives and make decisions about the most appropriate medication available for a health-care situation. The Canadian military took notice of the RxFiles Drug Comparison Charts book, which is available as a mobile app, a hard copy medication guide, and a web-based database. While stationed in Afghanistan, they requested permission to provide web-based access to Afghan National Army health-care providers.

“One of the things they really tried to do in their last year in Afghanistan was to help establish the country,” says Loren Regier, Saskatoon Health Region’s Pharmacy Services program coordinator for RxFiles Academic Detailing. “Their military also has a need for medical and pharmacy resources.”

Regier says the RxFiles program has been in contact with the Canadian military several times, because they have a need for this type of drug information for their own medical teams, and also felt the Afghan military could benefit from the up-to-date resource.

RxFiles Staff with the certificate of appreciation

Commander Sylvain Grenier presenting Saskatchewan pharmacists Pam Karlson (RxFiles Battlefords) and Brenda Schuster (RxFiles Regina) with the certificate in Toronto.

“We’ve always known that the information we produce is unique and valuable,” adds Regier, “and it was just a real treat to see that it was valuable in an area so far removed from where we are.”

RxFiles information assisted health-care professionals to treat military personnel requiring care and medication. Examples of its use in Canada and Afghanistan include managing acute and chronic medical conditions, providing medication dosage information, and looking for effective pharmacy alternatives when other medications may not be available.

RxFiles team members were presented with a certificate of appreciation at a conference in Toronto in February 2014. The certificate from the Afghan National Army says, “The provision of your comprehensive and up to date medication reference represents a significant and enduring investment towards healthcare excellence for the people of Afghanistan.”

Funding for the RxFiles program is provided by Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Health. “We’re pleased to support this innovative program that provides current, objective drug information to enhance patient care,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said. “It’s making a difference for health professionals, pharmacists and patients in Saskatchewan and beyond our borders.”

While the focus of the service is in Saskatchewan, RxFiles resources are also used nationally and internationally, primarily by physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, as well as in medical and pharmacy education. The resource is also occasionally requested by medical teams travelling to developing countries to provide aid and education in optimal prescribing.

“It’s rewarding to see our work getting used both at home and abroad,” says Regier.

The program is currently developing a second book, Geri-RxFiles, a resource to assist with medication use and assessments for older adults. It is expected to be released in May 2014.