Prescriber and pharmacist attitudes toward inclusion of diagnosis or clinical indication on prescription orders

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Journal of the American Pharmacists Association


Background: Pharmacy and medication safety organizations have long recommended that diagnosis or clinical indication be required on medication orders to improve the safety and effectiveness of care. Objective: To assess attitudes of Arizona prescribers and pharmacists toward the inclusion of the clinical indication or the diagnosis on prescription orders and perceived barriers to its implementation in Arizona. Methods: Data were obtained by questionnaires from pharmacists and primary care prescribers after a continuing pharmacy education presentation on the value of including a clinical indication or a diagnosis on prescription orders. The survey was distributed to licensed pharmacists who attended the Arizona Pharmacy Association's Southwest Clinical Pharmacy Seminar. The survey was distributed to primary care providers with active Arizona licenses who attended the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association Annual Convention and to nurse practitioners after an Arizona Nurse Practitioner Council educational webinar. Prescriber and pharmacist responses were compared using the Mann-Whitney U test. An a priori alpha of 0.05 was used, and in the cases of multiple comparisons, a Bonferroni correction was employed. Results: A total of 74 complete questionnaires were submitted by prescribers and 54 by pharmacists. Approximately 71% of the prescribers and 66% of the pharmacists agreed that they would support voluntary inclusion of a diagnosis or a clinical indication on prescription orders (P = 0.81). However, the 2 groups disagreed on whether the inclusion of the diagnosis or clinical indication should be a requirement (44% of prescribers agreed vs. 96% of pharmacists, P < 0.001). Two perceived barriers revealed statistically significant differences, with the prescribers being more concerned about possible insurance rejections than pharmacists (P = 0.005, whereas the pharmacists were more concerned about potential software transmission accuracy than prescribers (P < 0.001). Conclusion: Arizona prescribers and pharmacists in our convenience sample supported the voluntary inclusion of a diagnosis or a clinical indication on prescriptions orders but disagreed as to whether it should be required. Prescribers especially indicated they have a variety of concerns that need to be overcome before they could support a statewide mandate.

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