Time to teach basic and regulatory aspects of art of prescription writing for better doctor-patient safety and keeping communication accessible and straight
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The basic and regulatory knowledge of prescription writing is essential for every medical student to evolve into a prescribing physician. Prescription becomes the most important clinical pharmacology tool and evidence of the medication access, prescription errors, prescribing errors, negligence and further litigations once released from the hands of the physicians. A questionnaire based cross-sectional survey was done to evaluate knowledge of basic and regulatory aspects of prescription writing in the light of growing violence against physicians in India.
The basic and regulatory knowledge and awareness of 90 practicing physicians was evaluated for arts of prescription writing by a novel questionnaire based on Indian regulatory guidelines. It was assessed for content validity, face validity, readability and reliability. A statistical significant Cronbach’s alpha values of greater than 0.9, Flesh Reading Ease score of 37.4 and Flesch-Kincaid Grade level of 11.2 were obtained. A total of 39 questions comprised of 70 statements categorised into three broad sections containing 13 questions in each were asked in 30 min.
The knowledge of the prescription writing is very limited in doctors. They are not sure that Over-The-Counter drugs do not need prescription, pharmacist is the decoder of their written prescription, cross-prescribing (prescribing drugs of other system of medicine) is illegal and they should not dictate prescription on phone. Majority of the physicians are unaware that writing prescription serial number, Rx, refill information and dispensing direction of habit forming drugs is not legal requirement in India.
Medication access through prescription writing is marred with prescription errors. The physicians have limited regulatory and basic knowledge of prescription writing. Therefore their training of prescription writing through defined global teaching modules is needed. The prescription communications need to be lucid, accessible, comprehensive and straight between doctors and patients following the tenets of country specific regulatory requirements.
KeywordsPrescription writing Clinical pharmacology Medication access Basic and regulatory prescription elements General practice
We want to thank Dr. Malik Shahnawaz, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine of the institute for conducting statistical analysis of the questionnaire.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
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