How pharma and healthcare will benefit from the adoption of ePI standards

Author: Philippe Michiels, Principal Architect at Datapharm

With improved digital standards for healthcare information now being adopted in the UK and elsewhere around the world, the discussion now turns to how the pharma and healthcare sectors will respond. What do they need to consider when onboarding these new standards and, crucially, what value can they build for patients and HCPs from doing so?

If standards are implemented correctly, digital interoperability can then facilitate the free flow of information between healthcare settings. This is vital for not only understanding how best to treat a patient, but also how to administer medicines safely and effectively.

Furthermore, through a wide adoption of modern digital standards, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers (HCPs) and patients can unlock the value that interoperability offers. To enable this to happen, adopting an ePI (electronic Product Information) standard is absolutely necessary. Without it, interoperability and its benefits will not be realized.

Thankfully, promising steps are being taken. The global life science and healthcare markets are in the process of adopting HL7 FHIR for the digitization of medicines information, and the reasons behind this framework being adopted are already well defined and accepted.

In the UK, Datapharm is embracing these standards with emc ( This is a global resource of UK regulated medicines information for patients and industry professionals that is being built on FHIR structured data. It helps HCPs to remain up to date and prescribe medicines safely. It can also be used by patients and their carers to check information about their medicines, as well as the general public seeking guidance about medicines they are taking or thinking about taking.

What can pharma gain from adopting ePI?

Pharma stands to benefit in many ways by adopting ePI for their medicines information, including:

  • Cost savings and process efficiencies
  • Ability to use AI and NLP technologies to harness insight currently locked within existing medicines information content
  • Improved interoperability with future regulator and industry systems in the UK and internationally, streamlining update and approval processes
  • Up-to-date distribution of information and flexible access via any user device
  • Being able to present medicines information in a multi-language region in the patient’s local language
  • Customer insight and engagement mechanisms
  • Pharmacovigilance – sourcing alternative medicines in the case of an adverse event, regardless of region.

Furthermore, creating product packages with digital medicine information (and paper being optional), will allow innovation yielding more viewing options, increasing safety and making for a more intuitive experience. Paper-based leaflets not only are often out of date and difficult for patients to read, but also have an environmental impact.

How can healthcare benefit from ePI?

Similarly, healthcare providers can gain a considerable amount from onboarding ePI.

Motivated by enhanced patient safety and improving the effectiveness of their treatment delivery, ePI can help open up ways of consuming safety information taking into account the patient’s personal requirements. For instance, this could factor in a patient’s lactose intolerance or vegan preference to highlight this information to the patient about their medicines.

Empowering patients to better understand their conditions is a universally acknowledged and crucial goal, especially given the budgetary constraints and limited public funds available in many countries.

By combining structured medicines information with the patient’s own health data, they could be given more context with which to make more informed decisions for their own health management. Better informed patients may then lessen demand for healthcare services.

Providing a sufficient level of ePI is reached, another major advantage for patients is that it would allow them to travel safe in the knowledge that they can replace or locate equivalent medicines when they are abroad. At the same time, HCPs will be able to accurately engage with foreign patients’ prescriptions or medications.

How can pharma and healthcare realize the benefits of ePI?

To fully realize these benefits, pharma and healthcare organizations need to invest resources and energy into understanding and engaging with ePI and digital interoperability.

As is the case with any new technology, adoption is the key to realizing the full benefits. What’s more, in these early stages of development, there are still opportunities for improvements to be incorporated. This makes early preparation and movement even more important.

It is pharma companies’ product information that will be transformed by these standards, therefore they should get involved in the adoption of this technology. Engagement with key stakeholders such as regulators and solution providers is imperative as they seek to help develop and evolve the technology by collaborating in industry working groups.

Likewise, HCPs need to be at the forefront of collective engagement, gaining a firm grasp of the innovation that is being developed and how this will impact their provision of patient care. They should also work closely with pharma partners to provide feedback which will optimize the way ePI is developed and delivered.

The time to move is now, not least because major international stakeholders are already beginning to adopt the new standard.

Datapharm is a leading technology provider committed to ensuring that medicines information on emc ( is available using harmonized ePI standards, as well as driving wider ePI adoption across the UK and internationally.

Would you like to find out more about ePI and its benefits?

Ø  Visit Datapharm's resource hub or contact one of our experts to discuss the development and implementation of modern medicines information standards. 


The editorial staff had no role in this post's creation.