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Strategies supporting sustainable prescribing safety improvement interventions in English primary care: A qualitative study

Binti Mohd Shamsuddin, Azwa; Jeffries, Mark; Sheikh, Aziz; Laing, Libby; Salema, Ndeshi; Avery, Antony; Chuter, Anthony; Waring, Justin; Keers, Richard


Mark Jeffries

Aziz Sheikh

Libby Laing

Ndeshi Salema

Antony Avery

Anthony Chuter

Justin Waring

Richard Keers


Background: While the use of prescribing safety indicators (PSI) can reduce potentially hazardous prescribing, there is a need to identify actionable strategies for the successful implementation and sustainable delivery of PSI-based interventions in general practice.

Aim: To identify strategies for the successful implementation and sustainable use of PSI-based interventions in routine primary care.

Design & setting: Qualitative study in primary care settings across England.

Method: Anchoring on a complex pharmacist-led IT-based intervention (PINCER) and clinical decision support (CDS) for prescribing and medicines management, a qualitative study was conducted using sequential, multiple methods. The methods comprised documentary analysis, semi-structured interviews, and online workshops to identify challenges and possible solutions to the longer-term sustainability of PINCER and CDS. Thematic analysis was used for the documentary analysis and stakeholder workshops, while template analysis was used for the semi-structured interviews. Findings across the three methods were synthesised using the RE-AIM (reach, efficacy, adoption, implementation, and maintenance) framework.

Results: Forty-eight documents were analysed, and 27 interviews and two workshops involving 20 participants were undertaken. Five main issues were identified, which aligned with the adoption and maintenance dimensions of RE-AIM: fitting into current context (adoption); engaging hearts and minds (maintenance); building resilience (maintenance); achieving engagement with secondary care (maintenance); and emphasising complementarity (maintenance).

Conclusion: Extending ownership of prescribing safety beyond primary care-based pharmacists, and achieving greater alignment between general practice and hospital prescribing safety initiatives, is fundamental to achieve sustained impact of PSI-based interventions in primary care.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Jun 25, 2021
Online Publication Date Oct 26, 2021
Publication Date 2021-10
Deposit Date Mar 14, 2023
Publicly Available Date Mar 15, 2023
Print ISSN 0960-1643
Publisher Royal College of General Practitioners
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 5
Keywords general practice, implementation, patient safety, prescribing safety, primary health care, sustainability


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