Through the learning glass: an interactive session on polypharmacy

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Seventy-five percent of prescribing, and 81% of prescribing costs, are attributed to repeat prescriptions. This raises clinical, medico-legal and financial issues for general practice.

Continuing Medical Education can effectively address these issues if it uses appropriate methodology. This includes a safe learning environment, mutual respect and, in this example, sharing of information between primary and secondary care in a non-judgemental exchange.

The success of the approach described can be seen by:

• significant change in relation to repeat prescribing and polypharmacy within a local practice

• changes in how secondary care asks for information in relation to prescribed drugs

• the successful use of the same educational methodology by another GP tutor.

The session described was part of a five-day GP refresher course and used as an example of 'Learning Together' at the National Association of GP Tutors annual conference.

Follow-up evidence was provided by a local research project. Evidence of change after the GP refresher course was observed and the GP tutor notified the authors about their particular success in using the polypharmacy session on three occasions after attending the conference workshop.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2001

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