When Your Needs for Clinical Data Grow Beyond OpenFDA and RxNorm

It's easier than you think to migrate from open and free data sources to DrugBank. Discover the best practices and when to make the switch.

When Your Needs for Clinical Data Grow Beyond OpenFDA and RxNorm

Table of contents

  1. Benefits and limitations of open and free databases
  2. The DrugBank Advantage
  3. Migrating from openFDA or RxNorm has never been easier
  4. Take control with DrugBank Product Concepts
  5. We are here to make your migration effortless

Benefits and limitations of open and free databases

Free and open data has enabled remarkable advancements in the healthtech, biotech, and pharma sectors and created opportunities for innovators and entrepreneurs to pursue ideas that would have otherwise been unimaginable. However, as the problems we’re trying to solve grow in complexity, so must our datasets and the intricate ways in which that data is connected and organized.

Working within finite datasets, such as openFDA or RxNorm, can be beneficial if the scope of the problem you’re trying to solve is narrowly defined or you’re seeking strictly linear results. When the need for more extensive and connected data becomes apparent there are a few options available. You could spend time sourcing, cleaning, inputting, and organizing datasets of your own. This option is likely going to take you a long time but could be a good alternative if the pool of data you need to add is still somewhat limited.

Your other option is to turn to commercial solutions. At DrugBank we maintain one of the most comprehensive and easy-to-use databases on the market that covers an extensive range of features including drug-drug interactions, drug side effects, drug labels, allergies, and much more. Our active curation team of medical doctors, pharmacists, and pharmacologists are authoring and sourcing new content daily to ensure our datasets are as accurate as possible so that our customers are always leading the way to better healthcare delivery.


The DrugBank Advantage

The thing we hear most from our customers who come to us from free databases is that they are impressed by how easy and powerful our search results are. We meticulously crafted our datasets to include relationships that don’t exist elsewhere, and we’ve mapped to such a breadth of identifiers, including ICD-10, SNOMED, and MeSH, that it’s possible to yield superior insights from your searches. With just one ID you can access a whole range of results that would normally otherwise require numerous searches of, at times, multiple datasets.

DrugBank’s Clinical API is a flexible, clinical intelligence tool that enables users to harness our data through unique search functions that gather meaningful, comprehensive results. It also connects your search results to every other piece of relevant data in our database, enabling you to uncover new findings that you may not have otherwise considered. Instead of going from single-search to single-finding result, you get to experience a wide-angle view of the entire scope of data in relation to your searches.


Migrating from openFDA or RxNorm has never been easier

Whether you’re currently using openFDA, RxNorm, or another free open datasource, we have mapped our data to theirs in a way that makes it easy for you and your team to migrate to DrugBank. There are two approaches we recommend.

Approach 1: Partial Integration

Approach one allows you to continue operating as you had been. You would use openFDA or RxNorm to search for products and then take the NDC codes or RxCUIs from your searches and plug them into our API. This is a convenient way for you to keep processes simple and streamlined without having to go through any major changes.

The inherent downside to this approach is that you will always be operating between two separate platforms and will likely never see the full benefit and capabilities of DrugBank. It is also worth keeping in mind that this approach relies on communication between two separate platforms and we can only guarantee the quality and reliability of our product.

Approach 2: Full Integration

We will almost always recommend this as the preferred migration method as it ensures you see the biggest benefit from our data.

In the full integration approach we work with you to completely transition your internal data and search tools to DrugBank data concepts and search interfaces. This transition allows you to deal directly with DrugBank’s powerful platform as a one stop solution, making your results easier to maintain and navigate. It also allows you to take full advantage of DrugBank Product Concepts, which are an extremely valuable and powerful tool.

The full integration approach does require slightly more work at the start of the migration phase, but we’ll work with you to make sure it’s as streamlined as possible.


Take control with DrugBank Product Concepts

DrugBank’s Product Concepts is a hierarchical structured index of drug products that makes it easy to filter and store a medication list at a level of detail that is unique and useful to your specific needs. These hierarchical structures are derived from drug products and map to clinical information such as contraindications, indications, conditions, adverse effects, and drug-drug interactions.  

The expansive search lets you capture different levels of precision of a drug such as ingredient, route, form, and strength. It also has very few limitations around how you organize and store the information, enabling you to format it to your unique requirements.

This tool enables you to build a many-to-many relationship between information and create highly focused search results that puts you in control of the massive amount of data in our knowledgebase.

We are here to make your migration effortless

If you’re using any database other than ours, you’re only getting part of the picture. With DrugBank you’ve got the most connected, accurate, and up-to-date datasets on the market right at your fingertips. You can work with confidence knowing that you’re delivering the highest quality services and care to your patients and clients.

When you decide it’s time to make the switch, our team is happy to help you select the right approach and ensure migrating is as seamless as possible. We know that everyone has unique needs and uses for our products so we’re committed to understanding your business goals as we work together to help you innovate healthcare delivery.