6 November 2023

This week marks the eighth edition of #MedSafetyWeek promoted by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This year’s theme is ‘Engaging Patients for Patient Safety’, in recognition of the pivotal role that patients, their families and also health providers play in health care in raising awareness about the safety and proper use of medicines.

Today in Italy it is possible to report suspected adverse reactions (ADRs, Adverse Drug Reaction in English) from drugs and vaccines directly on the AIFA website.

By notifying suspected adverse drug reactions, all stakeholders involved can participate in the identification of potential drug safety problems, enabling the necessary measures to be implemented both to protect the public and to make them protagonists in the co-design of safety strategies.

In recent years, drug safety has undergone significant growth and development, evolving from a simple regulatory compliance function to an integrated and proactive activity.

It is no coincidence that the convergence between health and digital technology is leading to the development of ‘Digital Health’, a broad and sometimes confusing category of digital health technologies aimed at improving health and well-being, optimising the quality and safety of treatment, facilitating access to therapies, making medical services more efficient, and reducing the overall costs of healthcare

Currently, there are tools that can either represent a valid alternative to pharmacological treatment or, on the other hand, be combined with a pharmacological or psychological therapy, delivered with the aid of a health operator.

The future could therefore also involve the use of medical devices or other healthcare products that, by exploiting the potential of computer science and biotechnology, would be able to improve medication adherence, prevent safety problems and promote patient-centred care in order to improve the health of all.

Only through experience sharing and collaboration will it be possible to find out more about how to ensure safe and quality care for all so that the future of pharmacovigilance moves towards monitoring drugs not only for safety, but also for efficacy.

1. Ines Frederix, Enrico G Caiani, Paul Dendale et al. ESC e-Cardiology Working Group Position Paper: Overcoming challenges in digital health implementation in cardio-vascular medicine. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology 1–12 (2019)