Brief training has impact on prescription communication

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 25, 2013

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A one-hour educational session can make a big difference in how well doctors communicate with patients about the new drugs they are prescribing, according to research published in the January/February issue of Annals of Family Medicine. Doctors often fail to cover basic information when prescribing a new drug, such as what it is called and how often to take it, according to researchers.

Fifteen doctors at three internal medicine and family practice clinics in Los Angeles took the training session that emphasized the importance of discussing such factors and had physicians role-play to demonstrate what they had learned, while 14 other physicians at the clinic comprised the control group and did not receive training.

The physicians who took the training were much likelier to cover important information when prescribing new medications and got higher patient grades on trustworthiness and overall communication. Although 91% of those who attended the educational session told patients the name of the medications they were prescribing, only 62% of the doctors in the control group did so. About 75% of the trained doctors covered how long and how often to take the drugs, compared with less than half of the physicians in the control group, according to recordings of the patient-physician interactions analyzed for the study (link).

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