Pharmacy World and Science

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 407–413 | Cite as

Development and Face Validity of Explicit indicators of Appropriateness of Long Term Prescribing

  • Mary  P. TullyEmail author
  • Najma Javed
  • Judith A. Cantrill
Research Article


Objectives: To develop a set of explicit and operationalisable indicators of appropriate prescribing and assess their face validity using clinical pharmacists practising in secondary and primary care.

Method: Appropriateness indicators were derived from the literature, applied to data in the hospital clinical records of all newly prescribed long-term drugs for 50 randomly selected patients, further refined and then applied to another 25 randomly selected patients. A pre-piloted postal questionnaire was sent to 200 hospitals and primary care pharmacists, asking them to assess the indicators as to their importance for the assessment of appropriateness of long-term prescribing initiated in hospitals.

Results: Fourteen indicators were developed and piloted. Of the 16 original indicators, 5 were discarded, as they were unable to be operationalised, and 2 were subdivided to reflect the routinely available data. Eighty-six pharmacists with individual patient-focussed clinical duties took part in the assessment of the face validity (response rate 43%). Eleven indicators achieved a median importance rating of 1 (very important), and three indicators a median importance rating of 2 on a 5-point scale. The three most important indicators overall were ‘indication included in discharge summary’, ‘questionable high-risk therapeutic combination’ and ‘hazardous drug-drug combination’.

Conclusion: It was possible to develop and operationalise 14 indicators of the appropriateness of long-term prescribing commenced in hospital practice, all of which were considered to have face validity by an expert panel of clinical pharmacists. The development of these explicit indicators highlighted the incompleteness of the patient’s record. Further work is needed to assess their validity and reliability, before their use in research or audit can be recommended.


Appropriate prescribing Chronic medication Explicit indicator Hospital Indicators Pharmacists Validity 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary  P. Tully
    • 1
    Email author
  • Najma Javed
    • 1
  • Judith A. Cantrill
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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