News: Drug safety alerts move to the Internet

September 1, 2008

The launch of the Health Care Notification Network (HCNN), a new online network to notify physicians of drug safety alerts, was recently announced.

The launch of the Health Care Notification Network (HCNN), a new online network to notify physicians of drug safety alerts, was recently announced. HCNN replaces a widely criticized and decades-old system based on paper and the US mail, according to Medical Liability Monitor (6/2008). The network is the result of a 3-year collaboration among US medical society leaders, liability insurers, health plans, consumer advocacy groups, government leaders, and major pharmaceutical manufacturers. HCNN, which is used solely for patient safety alerts, is designed to ensure rapid and effective delivery of product recalls and warnings to physicians, improving patient safety and office efficiency, while reducing liability and paperwork. The network also can be used to rapidly communicate information about a public health emergency or bioterror event.

Surveys indicate that more than 90% of practicing physicians prefer having drug safety alerts sent immediately online instead of on paper through the mail. More than half of those surveyed also want office staff to receive the alerts. US physicians can register for the network at http://www.hcnn.net/. Registration is free.