Objective: To develop appropriate prescribing indicators and apply these to Irish prescription data.
Methods: A postal survey of 145 randomly selected general practitioners working within the Eastern Health Board region of the State-supported General Medical Services scheme in Ireland regarding the applicability of selected prescribing indicators was carried out. Such indicators were then applied to aggregate prescription data.
Results: Prescribing indicators based on agents of questionable efficacy/poor quality prescribing and those based on good prescribing practice were thought to make suitable indicators. Low rates of prescribing were noted for indicators based on drugs of limited efficacy, e. g. cerebral and peripheral vasodilators ( rate 3.1 per 1,000 prescriptions), whilst indicators based on drugs associated with good prescribing practice were associated with higher prescribing rates, e. g. the prescription of aspirin in patients receiving nitrate therapy( rate 7.13 per 1,000 patients). However, a low rate of generic prescribing (4.6%) was found amongst general practitioners in the study. The largest variability in prescribing was seen with the prescribing of peripheral and cerebral vasodilators ( 75th/ 25th centile= 5.6) and the prescription of long-acting sulphonylureas ( 75th/ 25th centile= 66.6).
Conclusions: Quality indicators based on aggregate prescribing provide valuable information on prescribing standards and should be developed with the close involvement of prescribers.
- NONSTEROIDAL ANTIINFLAMMATORY DRUGS