Healthcare Professionals' Opinions

This study will describe the views and opinions of healthcare professionals to linking routinely collected healthcare data for pharmacovigilance.

Our aim is to find out:

  • What healthcare professionals think of the current systems of pharmacovigilance and pharmacoepidemiology?
  • Would they have concerns if existing and evolving databases were linked at a national level?
  • What advantages or disadvantages could they see if existing and evolving databases were linked at a national level?
  • What practical barriers, from their perspective, might prevent the linkage of routinely collected datasets?
  • What would be the best method of disseminating information from any new pharmacovigilance/pharmacoepidemiology systems?
  • What information would they ideally like to have available from new systems for pharmacovigilance and pharmacoepidemilogy?


We are taking a mixed methods approach using interviews, focus groups and a delphi survey.

Key stakeholder interviews will be held with national experts on patient privacy, data protection, pharmacovigilance, and privacy; as well as the Chairperson from the Research Ethics Committees and the Caldicott Guardians from each of the Health Boards across Scotland. The interviews will be conducted face to face or by telephone and will be recorded and fully transcribed for analysis. Profession specific focus groups will be set up in three different Health Board locations to ensure a range of geographical locations, urban and rural settings, and population deprivation indices are represented. Invitees will include doctors (GPs, hospital consultants, Public Health consultants), pharmacists (community pharmacists, hospital pharmacists, drugs information/medicines management pharmacists), and nurses (primary and secondary care). The data collected in the interview and focus group phases of the study will inform the design of a Delphi survey, which will be sent nationally to the same professional groups, with a random sampling of national lists where numbers preclude mailing the total cohort.


This study will identify the views and opinions, and any concerns, of healthcare professionals regarding data linkage and using routinely collected healthcare data for pharmacovigilance. We will identify any potential barriers and propose solutions to acknowledge and address any issues or concerns healthcare professionals may have. This study will inform the approaches taken in the 'Evidence Synthesis' and 'Pharmacovigilance' projects, to ensure that the construction and use of routinely held NHS data for pharmacovigilance is acceptable to healthcare professionals and something that they see as an effective and efficient method to improve safety and effectiveness in paediatric medication use. Providing evidence of the value of additional and unique uses of NHS data, will also provide incentives to healthcare professionals for accurate and comprehensive data collection and entry.

If you would like more information please contact Yvonne Hopf (