The medication management system of Canada has been targeted for change in order to achieve better quality of service, improve patient safety, optimize the value for money spent, and integrate along the continuum of care delivery. This means changing the way in which medications are prescribed, dispensed, and reimbursed.

The challenge is to define a new model for medication management that makes the best use of human expertise and leverages emerging information technology. Ontario is moving forward on the development and adoption of new policies that will transform the role of pharmacists through the leadership of the Ontario Ministry of Health and the Ontario Pharmacists Association. However, very little progress has been made in the development of a comprehensive Ontario-wide drug information system, even though there is evidence that the province could save billions of dollars over the next 20 years.

This paper describes the components of a medication management system and compares the implementation of provincial Drug Information System (DIS) in five other provinces. To ensure a successful system transformation, lessons learned that can be applied in Ontario are highlighted. Key questions to consider in developing and implementing a medication information management strategy for Ontario are raised. It is recommended that Ontario engage professional associations, industry, and government stakeholders in a formal process to develop a provincial strategy that supports a new role for pharmacists and utilizes a comprehensive and integrated medication information management system. [To view this article please download PDF.]