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1.  Developing a complex intervention to improve prescribing safety in primary care: mixed methods feasibility and optimisation pilot study 
BMJ Open  2014;4(1):e004153.
Objectives
(A) To measure the extent to which different candidate outcome measures identified high-risk prescribing that is potentially changeable by the data-driven quality improvement in primary care (DQIP) intervention.(B) To explore the value of reviewing identified high-risk prescribing to clinicians.(C) To optimise the components of the DQIP intervention.
Design
Mixed method study.
Setting
General practices in two Scottish Health boards.
Participants
4 purposively sampled general practices of varying size and socioeconomic deprivation.
Outcome measures
Prescribing measures targeting (1) high-risk use of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and antiplatelets; (2) ‘Asthma control’ and (3) ‘Antithrombotics in atrial fibrillation (AF)’.
Intervention
The prescribing measures were used to identify patients for review by general practices. The ability of the measures to identify potentially changeable high-risk prescribing was measured as the proportion of patients reviewed where practices identified a need for action. Field notes were recorded from meetings between researchers and staff and key staff participated in semistructured interviews exploring their experience of the piloted intervention processes.
Results
Practices identified a need for action in 68%, 25% and 18% of patients reviewed for prescribing measures (1), (2) and (3), respectively. General practitioners valued being prompted to review patients, and perceived that (1) ‘NSAID and antiplatelet’ and (2) ‘antithrombotics in AF’ were the most important to act on. Barriers to initial and ongoing engagement and to sustaining improvements in prescribing were identified.
Conclusions
‘NSAIDs and antiplatelets’ measures were selected as the most suitable outcome measures for the DQIP trial, based on evidence of this prescribing being more easily changeable. In response to the barriers identified, the intervention was designed to include a financial incentive, additional ongoing feedback on progress and reprompting review of patients, whose high-risk prescribing was restarted after a decision to stop.
Trial registration number
Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01425502.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004153
PMCID: PMC3902335  PMID: 24448848
Clinical Pharmacology
2.  Quality and safety of medication use in primary care: consensus validation of a new set of explicit medication assessment criteria and prioritisation of topics for improvement 
Background
Addressing the problem of preventable drug related morbidity (PDRM) in primary care is a challenge for health care systems internationally. The increasing implementation of clinical information systems in the UK and internationally provide new opportunities to systematically identify patients at risk of PDRM for targeted medication review. The objectives of this study were (1) to develop a set of explicit medication assessment criteria to identify patients with sub-optimally effective or high-risk medication use from electronic medical records and (2) to identify medication use topics that are perceived by UK primary care clinicians to be priorities for quality and safety improvement initiatives.
Methods
For objective (1), a 2-round consensus process based on the RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method (RAM) was conducted, in which candidate criteria were identified from the literature and scored by a panel of 10 experts for 'appropriateness' and 'necessity'. A set of final criteria was generated from candidates accepted at each level. For objective (2), thematically related final criteria were clustered into 'topics', from which a panel of 26 UK primary care clinicians identified priorities for quality improvement in a 2-round Delphi exercise.
Results
(1) The RAM process yielded a final set of 176 medication assessment criteria organised under the domains 'quality' and 'safety', each classified as targeting 'appropriate/necessary to do' (quality) or 'inappropriate/necessary to avoid' (safety) medication use. Fifty-two final 'quality' assessment criteria target patients with unmet indications, sub-optimal selection or intensity of beneficial drug treatments. A total of 124 'safety' assessment criteria target patients with unmet needs for risk-mitigating agents, high-risk drug selection, excessive dose or duration, inconsistent monitoring or dosing instructions. (2) The UK Delphi panel identified 11 (23%) of 47 scored topics as 'high priority' for quality improvement initiatives in primary care.
Conclusions
The developed criteria set complements existing medication assessment instruments in that it is not limited to the elderly, can be implemented in electronic data sets and focuses on drug groups and conditions implicated in common and/or severe PDRM in primary care. Identified priorities for quality and safety improvement can guide the selection of targets for initiatives to address the PDRM problem in primary care.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-12-5
PMCID: PMC3296596  PMID: 22316181
Medication error; quality indicator; primary health care; adverse drug events; preventable drug related morbidity

Results 1-2 (2)