The assessment by doctors of the effectiveness of drugs. (1/1231)

There was no significant difference between the assessments by two groups of randomly-selected general practitioners on the effectiveness of the drug treatment for 19 common clinical conditions. The treatment of simple iron deficiency anaemia was considered the most effective and gained the highest consensus. Least effective, but not matched by worst consensus, was the drug treatment for obesity. The most widespread disagreement among the practitioners was for the effectiveness of the drug treatment of gastroenteritis.  (+info)

Ward pharmacy: a foundation for prescribing audit? (2/1231)

OBJECTIVES: To determine the extent and nature of prescription monitoring incidents by hospital pharmacists and to derive a performance indicator to allow prescription monitoring to be compared among hospitals in North West Thames region. DESIGN: Survey of all self recorded prescription monitoring incidents for one week in June 1990. SETTING: All (31) acute hospitals in the region with pharmacy departments on site, covering 10,337 beds. SUBJECTS: 210 pharmacists. MAIN MEASURES: Number of prescription monitoring incidents recorded, their nature, and outcome; a performance indicator of prescription monitoring (incidents/100 beds/week) and its variation according to specialty and site. RESULTS: 3273 prescription monitoring incidents were recorded (median 89 per hospital, range 3-301), the most common being related to the dose and frequency of administration of the drug (933 incidents, 29%). These incidents led to alterations of prescriptions on 1611 occasions; the pharmacist's advice was rejected on 81. The greatest number of prescription monitoring incidents/100 beds/week by specialty was recorded for intensive therapy units (median 75); the medians for medicine and surgery were 32 and 21 respectively. This performance indicator varied 20-fold when analysed by site, values ranging from 3.6 to 82.1 (median 29.8). CONCLUSIONS: Hospital pharmacists play a large part in monitoring and improving prescribing, and most of their interventions are related to the basics of prescribing. They therefore have a role in medical audit, working with clinicians to identify prescribing problems, and to set standards and monitor practice. A performance indicator of prescription monitoring incidents/100 beds/week allows comparison of pharmacists' activities among sites and may be a valuable tool in auditing them.  (+info)

Use of ineffective or unsafe medications among members of a Medicare HMO compared to individuals in a Medicare fee-for-service program. (3/1231)

Adverse drug reactions and inappropriate prescribing practices are an important cause of hospitalization, morbidity, and mortality in the elderly. This study compares prescribing practices within a Medicare risk contract health maintenance organization (HMO) in 1993 and 1994 with prescribing practices for two nationally representative samples of elderly individuals predominantly receiving medical care within the Medicare fee-for-service sector. Information on prescriptions in the fee-for-service sector came from the 1987 National Medical Expenditures Survey (NMES) and the 1992 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS). A total of 20 drugs were studied; these drugs were deemed inappropriate for the elderly because their risk of causing adverse events exceeded their health benefits, according to a consensus panel of experts in geriatrics and pharmacology. One or more of the 20 potentially inappropriate drugs was prescribed to 11.53% of the Medicare HMO members in 1994. These medications were prescribed significantly less often to HMO members in 1994 than to individuals in the fee-for-service sector, based on information from both the 1987 NMES and the 1992 MCBS. Utilization of unsafe or ineffective medications actually decreased with increasing age in the HMO sample, with lowest rates in individuals over the age of 85. However, no relationship between age and medication use was seen in the NMES study, except for individuals over the age of 90 years. The study data support the conclusion that ineffective or unsafe medications were prescribed less often in the Medicare HMO than in national comparison groups. In fact, for the very old, who are most at risk, the use of these medications was much lower in the Medicare HMO than in the Medicare fee-for-service sector. Nevertheless, in 1994, approximately one of every nine members of this Medicare HMO received at least one such medication. Continued efforts and innovative strategies to further reduce the use of unsafe and ineffective drugs among elderly Medicare HMO members are needed.  (+info)

Alzheimer's disease in the United Kingdom: developing patient and carer support strategies to encourage care in the community. (4/1231)

Alzheimer's disease is a growing challenge for care providers and purchasers. With the shift away from the provision of long term institutional care in most developed countries, there is a growing tendency for patients with Alzheimer's disease to be cared for at home. In the United Kingdom, this change of direction contrasts with the policies of the 1980s and 90s which focused more attention on controlling costs than on assessment of the needs of the patient and carer and patient management. In recent years, the resources available for management of Alzheimer's disease have focused on institutional care, coupled with drug treatment to control difficult behaviour as the disease progresses. For these reasons, the current system has led to crisis management rather than preventive support--that is, long term care for a few rather than assistance in the home before the crises occur and institutional care is needed. Despite recent innovations in the care of patients with Alzheimer's disease, the nature of the support that patients and carers receive is poorly defined and sometimes inadequate. As a result of the shift towards care in the community, the informal carer occupies an increasingly central role in the care of these patients and the issue of how the best quality of care may be defined and delivered is an issue which is now ripe for review. The objective of this paper is to redefine the type of support that patients and carers should receive so that the disease can be managed more effectively in the community. The needs of patients with Alzheimer's disease and their carers are many and this should be taken into account in defining the quality and structure of healthcare support. This paper shows how new initiatives, combined with recently available symptomatic drug treatment, can allow patients with Alzheimer's disease to be maintained at home for longer. This will have the dual impact of raising the quality of care for patients and improving the quality of life for their carers. Moreover, maintaining patients in a home environment will tend to limit public and private expenditure on institutional care due to a possible delay in the need for it.  (+info)

Home healthcare orders: an assessment of service satisfaction by internists, surgeons, and medical subspecialists. (5/1231)

We conducted a pilot study to evaluate the satisfaction of general internists, medical subspecialists, and surgeons with the quality of home health orders generated by home health agencies. Using a mail survey, we polled 69 physician specialists at Tulane University Medical Center. The percentage of physicians satisfied with the appropriateness of services for the level and type of care, consistency of medication with that prescribed, sufficiency of data on the certification form to assess service continuation, timeliness of orders, and overall health service delivery was 94%, 92%, 69%, 52%, and 88%, respectively. Compared with medical subspecialists and surgeons, general internists were more likely to report that the data on the form were sufficient. Physicians who were satisfied with at least one of the four measures of quality for home health orders were more likely to be satisfied with the overall delivery of services by home health agencies. Our results demonstrate, for the first time, that physicians overall are satisfied with home healthcare orders. However, level of satisfaction with orders is related to the physician's specialty. Areas that physicians were less satisfied with included timeliness of orders and sufficiency of data on the form to assess service continuation. Further studies using a larger population and more specific indicators of healthcare orders quality are recommended.  (+info)

Patient consultation in a managed care setting: guiding pharmacy into the future. (6/1231)

Managed care organizations are excellent environments for pharmaceutical care programs to demonstrate their impact on patient care outcomes and to decrease costs. Patient consultation is the cornerstone in implementing pharmaceutical care because it increases patient contact with the pharmacists while improving patient compliance with drug therapy (adherence). Implementation of a patient consultation program that verifies patients' understanding of their disease and therapy gives the pharmacist information necessary to monitor drug therapy. Use of strategic planning to overcome barriers, followed by the development of local standards of practice, will refocus the practice philosophy to one of improving patient outcomes. Pharmacy managers must demonstrate and document the value that patient consultation brings to the patient and the healthcare system. Then, they must integrate their counseling effort with other health education efforts of the managed care system. Pharmacists will gain the support of other disciplines by reinforcing their efforts. Together they can work to decrease the problems that are inherent with drug therapy. These goals can be accomplished with minimal expense and have the potential to produce significant savings in healthcare costs.  (+info)

Continuing drug therapy while breastfeeding. Part 1. Common misconceptions of patients. (7/1231)

QUESTION: Some of my patients who need specific drugs during the postpartum period are hesitant to breastfeed even when I tell them that, according to available evidence, these drugs are safe. Am I right about this and how should I advise my patients? ANSWER: Recent studies reveal that women receiving chronic therapy tend to initiate breastfeeding much less often than mothers in the general population and, if they do initiate, discontinue it much earlier. While reassuring counseling is generally correlated with continuation of breastfeeding, women receiving chronic medications still discontinue breastfeeding earlier. Stressing the clear benefits of breastfeeding and the lack of apparent risk of drugs shown to be safe should be coupled with repeated reassurance to mothers during close follow up of their babies.  (+info)

Antidiabetic treatment trends in a cohort of elderly people with diabetes. The cardiovascular health study, 1989-1997. (8/1231)

OBJECTIVE: This study characterizes the pharmaceutical treatment of type 2 diabetes from 1989-1990 to 1996-1997 in an elderly cohort. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A total of 5,888 adults aged > or = 65 years were recruited and attended a baseline clinic visit in 1989-1990 (n = 5,201, original cohort) or 1992-1993 (n = 687. African-American [new] cohort) as participants of the Cardiovascular Health Study. Fasting serum glucose (FSG) was measured at baseline. Medication use was ascertained by drug inventory at all annual clinic visits. Diabetes was defined at baseline as insulin or oral hypoglycemic agent (OHA) use or as having an FSG > or = 7.0 mmol/l (126 mg/dl), the current consensus definition of diabetes. RESULTS: A total of 387 (7%) original (FSG = 9.8 mmol/l [177 mg/dl]) and 115 (17%) new (FSG = 10.6 mmol/l [191 mg/dl]) cohort members had pharmacologically treated diabetes at baseline. Among those in the original and in the new cohorts who survived follow-up, respectively, OHA use decreased from 80 to 48% (P < 0.001) and from 67 to 50% (P < 0.003) and insulin use increased from 20 to 33% (P = 0.001) and from 33 to 37% (P = 0.603). There were 396 (8%) original (FSG = 8.8 mmol/l [159 mg/dl]) and 45 (7%) new (FSG = 10.0 mmol/l [181 mg/dl]) cohort members with diabetes untreated at baseline. Among them, respectively, OHA use reached 38 and 30% and insulin use reached 6 and 16% in 1996-1997. CONCLUSIONS: Diabetes was common in this elderly cohort, and > 80% of treated patients with diabetes at baseline were not achieving fasting glucose goals of < or = 6.7 mmol/l (120 mg/dl). Many untreated at baseline remained untreated after 7 years of follow-up.  (+info)