Factors Impacting Prescription Practice in Primary Healthcare Setting in India: A Case Study in Rajasthan
Keywords:Prescription practice, appropriateness, compliance, comprehensiveness, disease burden, primary health, signs and symptoms.
Objective: To assess the prescription practices in the Indian state of Rajasthan with a view to demonstrate
the effect of provider and system level factors, and their interactions on good prescription practices. The
study analysed two major dimensions of good prescription practice; first, the completeness of prescription, a
measure of adequacy; and second, the appropriateness of prescription, a measure of quality of care.
Design: A retrospective cross-sectional study with a mixed method approach
Setting: 24 rural and 7 urban government Primary Health Centres of Rajasthan, India
Participants: Audit of 2801 prescriptions from health facility and the service providers in these facilities,
including doctors, and nurses
Primary and Secondary Outcomes: The study outcome testified the study objective that provider level
factor is critical to assure adequacy and appropriateness of good prescription practice. The secondary
level outcome revealed that the system level factors are equally important to ensure compliance to good
Result: We found that the documentation of patient complaint, examination findings largely depended
on system level factors, such as availability of space in the piece of paper used for writing prescription;
because for the doctor documenting diagnosis, and prescribing medicines and investigations were of greater
importance. Ownership compliance of doctors, measured in terms of their signature on the prescriptions,
emerged as an important factor determining both adequacy and accuracy of prescriptions. Further, the
treatment appropriateness, measured in terms of QoC, depends on both provider & system level factors.
Conclusion: There is a need to focus on provider and system level factors to improve prescription practices
in primary health care. We recommend that institutional strengthening at systemic & provider level using
innovative ways; such as task shifting to nurses as ‘physician assistants’, and reducing administrative
activities of physicians to enhance focus on clinical work can propel better prescription practice.
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