The availability of pharmacogenomic data of individual patients can significantly improve physicians' prescribing behavior, lead to a reduced incidence of adverse drug events and an improvement of effectiveness of treatment. The Medicine Safety Code (MSC) initiative is an effort to improve the ability of clinicians and patients to share pharmacogenomic data and to use it at the point of care. The MSC is a standardized two-dimensional barcode that captures individual pharmacogenomic data. The system is backed by a web service that allows the decoding and interpretation of anonymous MSCs without requiring the installation of dedicated software. The system is based on a curated, ontology-based knowledge base representing pharmacogenomic definitions and clinical guidelines. The MSC system performed well in preliminary tests. To evaluate the system in realistic health care settings and to translate it into practical applications, the future participation of stakeholders in clinical institutions, medical researchers, pharmaceutical companies, genetic testing providers, health IT companies and health insurance organizations will be essential.
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