Background In early 2010 traditional, small (102 mm x 178 mm) single copy outpatient / discharge prescription forms were in use in Beaumont Hospital. This raised patient safety and legal concerns. International studies have demonstrated that redesign of prescription forms can improve patient safety.
Purpose The aim of this project was to design and introduce a new outpatient / discharge prescription form to address the patient safety and legal concerns surrounding the traditional form and to evaluate the new form through an audit of the provision of prescriber details and a user satisfaction survey.
Materials and methods A new A4 (210 mm x 297 mm) triplicate prescription form was designed. The new form included copies for the general practitioner and healthcare record. Samples of completed traditional and new forms were audited for inclusion of the prescriber's medical council registration number (MCRN) and contact details. Evaluation included a prescriber survey and a postal survey of community pharmacists. Statistical analysis was performed using PASW.
Results Analysis of the prescription audit revealed that inclusion of the prescriber's MCRN increased from 15% with the traditional form to 76% with the new form (p<0.001). Only 45% of prescribers provided any identification detail on the traditional form but 100% of prescribers provided two or more identification details on the new form (p<0.001).The survey found that 81.3% of prescribers strongly agreed or agreed that the new form was an improvement over the traditional form compared to 100% of pharmacists (p=0.025). Consultants were less likely to agree or strongly agree that the new form was an improvement compared to the non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs) (p<0.001).
Conclusion A new A4 triplicate prescription form introduced in Beaumont Hospital was well received by both prescribers and community pharmacists. Prescribers were significantly more likely to include their MCRN and other contact details on the new form compared to the traditional form.
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