The researchers found that while this original process was ultimately effective, it took nearly three weeks and considerable human input to complete NetWellness content changes after the Vioxx withdrawal.
To improve on this, the research team developed their new approach and then tested it following FDA withdrawal of the anti-inflammatory drug Bextra (valdecoxib) on April 7, 2005. The results were significantly better than with the previous approach, they say. In just 18 hours after the drug recall, all instances of Bextra on NetWellness were updated and active, says Embi.
The new method, initiated by the FDA's automated MedWatch E-List alert and combined with modified technology and people processes, allows updates of all relevant NetWellness pages with minimal manual input and within 24 hours of a drug recall.
Now when the FDA announces a drug withdrawal, the NetWellness team receives an alert by MedWatch E-List and immediately checks the site's database for instances of the drug name, including trade and generic names. Instances are then hyperlinked using an automated find-and-replace function built into the site's content management system.
Simultaneously, pages containing these references receive a hyperlinked warning box indicating the availability of important information about the withdrawn drug.
All hyperlinks point directly to a new NetWellness "warning" page containing information about the FDA alert and to additional links to either the FDA or the drug manufacturer's Web site.
A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association reports that the majority of Web-based sources, including the popular consumer he
Contact: Jill Hafner
University of Cincinnati