ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
Physician's Practice Patterns
Two Ways of Looking at a Healthy Practice - Editor's Page
Diagnosis Du Jour - The Last Word
A New Epidemic: Administrative Fibrillation - The Last Word
E-Prescribing: Why the Fuss? - Feature
ABSTRACT: A systematic approach advocated by the World Health Organization can help minimize poor-quality and erroneous prescribing. This six-step approach to prescribing suggests that the physician should (1) evaluate and dearly define the patient's problem; (2) specify the therapeutic objective; (3) select the appropriate drug therapy; (4) initiate therapy with appropriate details and consider nonpharmacologic therapies; (5) give information, instructions, and warnings; and (6) evaluate therapy regularly (e.g., monitor treatment results, consider discontinuation of the drug). The authors add two additional steps: (7) consider drug cost when prescribing; and (8) use computers and other tools to reduce prescribing errors. These eight steps, along with ongoing self-directed learning, compose a systematic approach to prescribing that is efficient and practical for the family physician. Using prescribing software and having access to electronic drug references on a desktop or handheld computer can also improve the legibility and accuracy of prescriptions and help physicians avoid errors.
ABSTRACT: Antibiotic resistance was once confined primarily to hospitals but is becoming increasingly prevalent in family practice settings, making daily therapeutic decisions more challenging. Recent reports of pediatric deaths and illnesses in communities in the United States have raised concerns about the implications and future of antibiotic resistance. Because 20 percent to 50 percent of antibiotic prescriptions in community settings are believed to be unnecessary, primary care physicians must adjust their prescribing behaviors to ensure that the crisis does not worsen. Clinicians should not accommodate patient demands for unnecessary antibiotics and should take steps to educate patients about the prudent use of these drugs. Prescriptions for targeted-spectrum antibiotics, when appropriate, can help preserve the normal susceptible flora. Antimicrobials intended for the treatment of bacterial infections should not be used to manage viral illnesses. Local resistance trends may be used to guide prescribing decisions.