Updates from the drug programs

Program refined to further address prescribing challenges

In March 2014, the Prescription Review Program (PRP) examined zopiclone prescribing across the province, beginning with a review of the province’s top prescribers of the drug. Once identified, these physicians entered the PRP and began a series of quality improvement activities, including reviews of the scientific literature, consultations with physician experts, and attendance at prescribing-specific continuing medical education courses. Subsequent analyses of these physicians’ prescribing profiles showed marked improvements, with a 27 per cent average decrease in inappropriate prescribing.

A key objective of the PRP is to assist physicians, like those identified in the zopiclone review, with the challenging task of prescribing opioids, benzodiazepines and other potentially addictive medications with appropriate caution. To achieve that goal, and to enhance the effectiveness of the program, the PRP recently refined its quality assurance processes. The program begins with a review of the physician’s PharmaNet practitioner prescription profile, followed by several stages of educational activities. For those physicians with particularly challenging prescribing profiles, a face-to-face discussion with a medical consultant is offered as an opportunity to discuss barriers to, and opportunities for, improvements in prescribing practice.

At each stage, a PharmaNet practitioner prescription profile is reviewed by the medical consultant. Depending on the unique situation of each case, files may progress linearly stage by stage, or may be accelerated through the program. If the review reveals prescribing patterns that are consistent with the College’s Prescribing Principles, the committee would likely direct that the file be closed. As a quality assurance activity of the College, the PRP is obligated by the Health Professions Act to protect the information it collects—data submitted by physicians to the PRP cannot be used for any other purpose than quality assurance.

For more information about this quality assurance process, contact the Prescription Review Program at 604-733-7758 extension 2629.