Improving Safe Use of Medication Through Internet Education for Healthcare Providers: A Case-Controlled Study

Jennifer J. Brown, Gregory D. Salinas, Michael Cohen, Judith K. Jones, Barbara L. Olson, Allen Vaida, David W. Bates

Abstract


Background: Safe medication use has become a major public health concern. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an internet continuing education (CE) curriculum in changing practices of inter-disciplinary healthcare providers related to safe medication use.

Methods: Healthcare provider participants completed activities in an internet CE curriculum on safe medication use for credit (N = 63,612) from April 2008–2009. The outcomes study group CE participants (n = 511) and non-participant controls (n = 506) were demographically matched. The main outcomes measure was performance on patient case vignette surveys taken immediately following CE, using a case-controlled design and referenced to FDA guidance on safe use. All participants were also asked to report the barriers to safe use they encounter in their own practices.

Results: Appropriate practices for safe medication use were selected by antly more CE participants as compared with controls in case vignette surveys. Statistically ant differences between CE participants and controls were identi-in the areas of effective patient communication, managing adverse drug experience (ADE) with positive de-challenge, and ADE reporting to Institute of Safe Medical Practices (ISMP) and to MedWatch. Barriers most often reported by par-ticipants centered on communication, ineffective communication among providers in the healthcare team, and inadequate patient counselling on safe medication use.

Conclusions: Participation in an internet CE curriculum on safe medication use measurably improved the practice choices of healthcare providers in case vignette surveys. An area of CE need is effective communication among healthcare providers and with their patients.


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