Drug Evaluation Alliance of Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Pharmacare

Drug Evaluation Alliance of Nova Scotia

The mission of the Drug Evaluation Alliance of Nova Scotia (DEANS) is to contribute to the health of Nova Scotians by encouraging appropriate drug use. To accomplish this, DEANS will:

  • obtain and analyse information
  • provide relevant information to Nova Scotian decision-makers, practitioners and consumers, and
  • evaluate the impact of the information and the methods of its dissemination on policy making, practitioner behaviour and consumer outcomes.

The following pages carry information about the Drug Evaluation Alliance of Nova Scotia


DEANS Philosophy

Given the vast number of critical drug care issues which could potentially be identified, the DEANS Management Committee relies on the following criteria as a guide to prioritizing issues:

  • Does the issue fall within the scope of encouraging appropriate drug use?
  • Is DEANS the most appropriate group to address the issue?
  • Does DEANS have the resources needed to address the issue?
  • Does the issue have health and economic significance to a number of DEANS stakeholders?
  • Does the issue have Nova Scotian significance in terms of population prevalence of disease and drug prescribing?
  • Will the fact that the issue is addressed at this time have a greater chance of impacting decision-makers?
  • Is there sufficient quality information to conduct the drug evaluation component of the issue?
  • Is the issue controversial and, if so, what impact will the controversy have on influencing the behaviour of target audiences?

Recognizing its ultimate goal is to influence local behaviour, DEANS will, whenever possible, preferentially establish contracts with Nova Scotian-based suppliers of resources.

Although the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness is the primary funder for DEANS, external funding may be sought for special projects. The quality and character of the relationship between DEANS and its funders must be collaborative, but must not compromise the process of impartial research. Cognizant of the potential hazards of funding relationships, the Management Committee is responsible for ensuring the research and information agenda of DEANS is needs driven, based on relevance to encouraging appropriate drug use in Nova Scotia.

As a result, all contracted resources are required to establish policies and guidelines which govern their relationship with external funders and reflect the philosophy of DEANS. The DEANS Management Committee assumes the important task of managing potential conflicts.

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Terms of Reference: Management Committee


In the development phase, DEANS was overseen by a Steering Committee with representatives from the Department of Health and Wellness, Continuing Medical Education at Dalhousie University, the College of Pharmacy at Dalhousie University and the Drug Information Centre at the QEII Health Sciences Centre. When the development phase was completed, the Steering Committee was replaced by a Management Committee which is accountable to the Minister of Health and Wellness for DEANS.


The Management Committee consists of individuals and/or designates with expertise to provide implementation and evaluation resources in the area of:

  • family practice
  • institutional or community clinical pharmacy
  • pharmacoeconomics
  • pharmacoepidemiology
  • drug utilization expertise
  • methodology
  • continuing medical education
  • continuing pharmacy education
  • critical appraisal
  • prescription monitoring programs

Depending on resource needs, other members may be added at any time.

Members of the Management Committee are appointed by the Department of Health and Wellness on the recommendation of the contracted implementation/evaluation resources. The Manager of Drug Technology Assessment and other representatives from Pharmaceutical Services hold ex-officio status. Committee members are required to sign a Department of Health and Wellness statement of confidentiality.

The Manager of Drug Technology Assessment functions as the Committee's secretariat. The Management Committee selects its own Chair. The Chair generally serves for two years.


Meetings are called at the discretion of the Chair, generally every month (with the exception of July and August). Agenda and background materials are sent to Committee members in advance of the meeting.

Committee members must declare any real or perceived conflict of interest. In situations where a real or perceived conflict of interest arises in the course of the Committee's work, members must declare its existence and other members of the Committee will take such conflict into consideration during the decision-making process. Depending on the nature of the conflict, the member may be asked to disqualify him/herself from participation in discussion or, depending on the situation, from membership on the Committee.


The Management Committee:

  • is responsible and accountable to the Minister of Health and Wellness for the work of DEANS;
  • identifies and prioritizes drug utilization issues;
  • determines the feasibility of implementing priorities;
  • develops implementation plans, including time frames, resources and deliverables;
  • establishes financial arrangements to implement initiatives approved by the Department of Health and Wellness;
  • manages initiatives through the Manager of Drug Technology Assessment;
  • monitors the progress and outcomes of initiatives;
  • facilitates the dissemination of information about the work of DEANS and elicits stakeholder feedback; and
  • conducts ongoing reviews of its resources and structure to ensure it is able to achieve its mandate.

Reporting Requirements:

The Management Committee provides an annual report to the Minister of Health and Wellness and stakeholders. The Chair of the Management Committee maintains regular, informal rapport with the Department of Health and Wellness.

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Annual Summaries

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Academic Detailing Service

Academic detailing is a process by which a health educator visits a physician in his/her office to provide a 15 to 20 minute educational intervention on a specific topic. Academic detailing provides complete and objective information based on best available evidence. Physicians can receive continuing education credits for the time they spend with the health educator.

In the fall of 2001, a province-wide academic detailing service (ADS) was introduced in Nova Scotia. Funded by the Department of Health and Wellness, the service is designed and operated by Dalhousie University Continuing Medical Education. The ADS is linked to the Department's drug program management structure through the Drug Evaluation Alliance of Nova Scotia (DEANS). DEANS provides direction on the topics addressed, monitors the execution and evaluation of each ADS topic and encourages and oversees complementary interventions. At present, the Service employs three part-time health educators: two pharmacists and one nurse.

The ADS is available to all physicians in Nova Scotia, but participation is completely voluntary.

For information about the ADS, refer to the Dalhousie University Continuing Professional Development website: http://medicine.dal.ca/departments/core-units/cpd.html