Journal of Primary Health Care Journal of Primary Health Care Society
Journal of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Safer Prescribing and Care for the Elderly (SPACE): feasibility of audit and feedback plus practice mail-out to patients with high-risk prescribing

Katharine Wallis 1 , Rebecca Tuckey 1
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

1 The University of Auckland, General Practice and Primary Health Care, Auckland, New Zealand

Correspondence to: Katharine Wallis, The University of Auckland, General Practice and Primary Health Care, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand. Email: k.wallis@auckland.ac.nz

Journal of Primary Health Care 9(2) 145-152 https://doi.org/10.1071/HC17018
Published: 30 June 2017

Journal Compilation © Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners 2017.
This is an open access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: High-risk prescribing in general practice is common and places patients at increased risk of adverse events.

AIM: The Safer Prescribing and Care for the Elderly (SPACE) intervention, comprising audit and feedback plus practice mail-out to patients with high-risk prescribing, was designed to promote medicines review and support safer prescribing. This study aims to test the SPACE intervention feasibility in general practice.

METHODS: This feasibility study involved an Auckland Primary Health Organisation (PHO), a clinical advisory pharmacist, two purposively sampled urban general practices, and seven GPs. The acceptability and utility of the SPACE intervention were assessed by semi- structured interviews involving study participants, including 11 patients with high-risk prescribing. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using a general inductive approach to identify emergent themes.

RESULTS: The pharmacist said the SPACE intervention facilitated communication with GPs, and provided a platform for their clinical advisory role at no extra cost to the PHO. GPs said the feedback session with the pharmacist was educational but added to time pressures. GPs selected 29 patients for the mail-out. Some GPs were concerned the mail-out might upset patients, but patients said they felt cared for. Some patients intended to take the letter to their next appointment and discuss their medicines with their GP; others said there were already many things to discuss and not enough time. Some patients were confused by the medicines information brochure.

DISCUSSION: The SPACE intervention is feasible in general practice. The medicines information brochure needs simplification. Further research is needed to test the effect of SPACE on high-risk prescribing.

KEYWORDS: Prescription medicines; patient safety; ageing; primary health care


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