BMC health services research 2017 11 1517(1) 734 doi 10.1186/s12913-017-2704-3
Documenting the indication on prescriptions and dispensed medicines labels is not standard practice in Australia. However, previous studies that have focused on the content and design of dispensed medicines labels, have suggested including the indication as a safety measure. The aim of this study was to investigate the perspectives of Australian consumers, pharmacists and prescribers on documenting the indication on prescriptions and dispensed medicines labels.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted and mock-up of dispensed medicines labels were designed for participants. Consumers (n = 19) and pharmacists (n = 7) were recruited by convenience sample at community pharmacies in Sydney (Australia) and prescribers (n = 8), including two medical students, were recruited through snowballing.
Thirty-four participants were interviewed. Most participants agreed that documenting the indication would be beneficial especially for patients who are forgetful or take multiple medications. Participants also believed it would improve consumers’ medication understanding and adherence. Prescribers and pharmacists believed it could help reduce prescribing and dispensing errors by matching the drug/dosage to the correct indication. Prescribers refrained from documenting the indication to protect patients’ privacy; however, most patients did not consider documenting the indication as a breach of privacy. Prescribers raised concerns about the extra time to include indications on prescriptions and best language to document indications, using plain language as opposed to medical terminology.
All interviewed stakeholders identified numerous benefits of documenting the indication on prescriptions and dispensed medicines labels. Whether these potential benefits can be realized remains unknown and addressing prescribers’ concern regarding the time involved in documenting the indication on prescriptions remains a challenge for vendors of electronic medication management systems.