Pharmacotherapy e-learning for on-boarding junior doctors at Amsterdam UMC

A new e-learning 'Veilig voorschrijven' aiming to promote safe and effective prescription of medication, by dealing with four relevant themes in the pharmaceutical field.

The Pharmacotherapy team is a new concept developed at the Amsterdam University Medical Center (UMC) location VUmc. Within this multidisciplinary team, knowledge and expertise of doctors and pharmacists, whether or not in training as a clinical pharmacologist, are bundled with the aim of promoting safe and effective prescription of medication. According to the Amsterdam UMC, it is important that every doctor who starts working at their hospital has sufficient knowledge regarding prescriptions. To help with this, both Elevate and the Pharmacotherapy team have designed and developed an e-learning on four main themes: antibiotics, anti-coagulation, pain relief and psychotropic drugs. The e-learning is offered through the Elevate Learning Platform.

Why reduce prescribing errors?

Research has shown that prescribing errors account for a substantial proportion of medication-related harm. In the Netherlands alone, a staggering 16.838 medication-related incidents were reported to the Central Medication Incidents Registration (CMR) in 2014. A third of these incidents were due to prescribing errors. According to the Research & Expertise Center in Pharmacotherapy Education (RECIPE), given the increasing complexity of patients in hospitals, the demanding working environment, and the large number of drugs prescribed new strategies are urgently needed in order to reduce prescribing errors in this setting.


Improving appropriate in-hospital prescribing: e-learning ‘Veilig voorschrijven’

At the Amsterdam UMC a multidisciplinary team, including a clinician and a hospital pharmacist, is operational, working together with local stakeholders in order to make a valuable contribution in reducing prescribing errors. During educational moments, at large visits and in consultation, the team offers help with the safe prescription of medication. In addition, they offer handy, concise guidelines and applications. As part of the multidisciplinary strategy a number of hospital-wide interventions, including a mandatory e-learning for junior doctors covering important prescribing topics (e.g. pain/fluid management and anti-coagulation) are developed.

From August 2019 on, the “Veilig voorschrijven” e-learning is compulsory for all on-boarding junior doctors at the Amsterdam UMC hospital.

The numbers


Self-paced, 2-hour online course


Main themes in pharmacy


Involved Pharmacotherapy experts



Lifelong learning

Aside from the junior doctors, this e-learning is also highly recommended as part of the continuous professional development pathway for already employed healthcare professionals and doctors.

With medical science constantly evolving, obtaining a medicine degree is really just the start. It is essential for healthcare professionals to continue studying developments that affect the practice of their profession, by keeping up with the literature, either through continuing their professional development or by taking online medical education.

Healthcare professionals often work under great pressure in a range of professional situations. As lifelong learners they decide their own educational needs and at Elevate Health we are passionate about helping them achieve these goals by developing the best, tailor-made learning solutions.

For the future

As the importance of reducing prescribing errors in the medical landscape is evident, the success of the e-learning ‘Veilig voorschrijven’ did not go unnoticed by healthcare professionals working at hospitals other than the Amsterdam UMC. Therefore, Elevate will, together with the Amsterdam UMC, explore possibilities for launching the course nationally, so that even more doctors can benefit and gain access to this valuable and informative online training in the future.


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