An agenda for UK clinical pharmacology: How should teaching of undergraduates in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics be delivered and assessed?

Clinical Pharmacology Unit, University of Edinburgh, Clinical Research Centre, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, UK.
British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.88). 02/2012; 73(6):893-9. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04232.x
Source: PubMed


Clinical pharmacology and therapeutics is the academic discipline that informs rational prescribing of medicines. There is accumulating evidence that a significant minority of prescriptions in the UK National Health Service contain errors. This comes at a time when the approach to and success of undergraduate education in this area has been called into question. Various stakeholders are now in agreement that this challenging area of undergraduate education needs to be strengthened. The principles that should form the basis of future educational strategy include greater visibility of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics in the curriculum, clear learning outcomes that are consistent with national guidance, strong and enthusiastic leadership, a student formulary, opportunities to practice prescribing, a robust assessment of prescribing competencies and external quality control. Important new developments in the UK are Prescribe, a repository of e-learning materials to support education in clinical pharmacology and prescribing, and the Prescribing Skills Assessment, a national online assessment designed to allow medical students to demonstrate that they have achieved the core competencies required to begin postgraduate training.

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Available from: Simon R J Maxwell, Sep 17, 2014
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    • "A limited formulary offers a learning target that is realistic. The list should comprise drugs that are commonly used in treating common illnesses.1 In our case, our interns may prepare their own formulary. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: We aimed to investigate the effect of rational pharmacotherapy workshop for interns on the rationality, cost and number of drugs prescribed. Methods: The participants were asked to prescribe a medication for acute noninflammatory osteoarthritis (ANOA), acute bacterial rhinosinusitis (ARS), acute otitis media (AOM), acute uncomplicated cystitis (AC), and acute bacterial tonsillopharyngitis (ABT) before and after workshop. Total 3000 prescriptions were scored regarding rationality of the drug choice (0-10), format (0-5), instructions (0-4), legibility (0-1) and total (0-20 points). The mean number of drug(s) and total costs per prescription were calculated. Paired samples t-test was used to compare the pre- and post score means. Results: Total pre- and post-prescribing scores (0-20) were significantly different (p=0.00 for each): ANOA (13.59±0.27, 18.33±0.18), ARS (13.26 ±0.18, 15.15 ±0.17), AOM (12.58 ± 0.26, 14.66±0.27), AC (13.53±0.17, 15.76±0.20), ABT (13.54±0.24, 15.49 ±0.28). Mean number of drugs per prescription for the indications in the pre-test and post-test were: ANOA (1.24 ±0.29, 1.02±0.01, p=0.00), ARS (2.08±0.04, 2.00±0.04, p=0.16), AOM (1.66±0.04 and 1.69±0.03, p=0.54), AC (1.55±0.04, 1.39±0.03, p=0.00) and ABT (2.10±0.05, 1.81±0.05, p=0.00). Mean costs per prescription in Turkish Liras: ANOA (6.31±0.29, 4.60±0.05, p=0.00), ARS (13.80±0.38, 4.63±0.04, p=0.00), AOM (10.18±0.28, 4.41±0.07, p=0.00), AC (11.33±0.21, 10.68±0.18, p=0.01) and ABT (12.03±0.34 and 10.41±0.35, p=0.00). Conclusion: Training produced a significant improvement in rational prescribing.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences Online
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    • "A literature search showed that researchers used various forms of E-learning tools such as streaming video, multimedia, web-based interactive module, and Moodle [12–15]. In pharmacology, researchers also used various tools such as E-learning courses to improve prescribing skills, delivering concepts in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics through E-learning, integration of pathophysiology into pharmacology through a web-based E-learning course [7, 16–18]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Many medical educators are experimenting with innovative ways of E-learning. E-learning provides opportunities to students for self-directed learning in addition to other advantages. In this study, we designed and evaluated an interactive E-learning module in pharmacology for effectiveness, acceptability and feasibility, with the aim of promoting active learning in this fact-filled subject. A quasi-experimental single-group pre-test/post-test study was conducted with fourth-semester students of the second professionals course (II MBBS), selected using non-probability convenience sampling method. An E-learning module in endocrine pharmacology was designed to comprise three units of interactive PowerPoint presentations. The pre-validated presentations were uploaded on the website according to a predefined schedule and the 42 registered students were encouraged to self-learning using these interactive presentations. Cognitive gain was assessed using an online pre- and post-test for each unit. Students' perceptions were recorded using an online feedback questionnaire on a 5-point Likert scale. Finally, focused group discussion was conducted to further explore students' views on E-learning activity. Significant attrition was observed during the E-learning activity. Of the 42 registered students, only 16 students completed the entire E-learning module. The summed average score of all three units (entire module) was increased significantly from 38.42 % (summed average pre-test score: 11.56/30 ± 2.90) to 66.46 % (summed average post-test score: 19.94/30 ± 6.13). The class-average normalized gain for the entire module was 0.4542 (45.42). The students accepted this E-learning activity well as they perceived it to be innovative, convenient, flexible and useful. The average rating was between 4 (agree) and 5 (strongly agree). The interactive E-learning module in pharmacology was moderately effective and well perceived by the students. The simple, cost-effective and readily available Microsoft PowerPoint tool appealed to medical educators to use this kind of simple E-learning technology blended with traditional teaching to encourage active learning among students especially in a rural setup is attractive.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2013
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: The rational use of drugs (RUD) is primarily the responsibility of physicians. The aim of this study was to investigate whether physicians are aware of RUD principles and how they apply them in daily medical practice. Methods: A total 136 physicians working at the Kartal Training and Research Hospital in Istanbul were enrolled in the study between February and March 2012. A face-to-face interview was conducted with physicians to assess their knowledge and attitude regarding RUD. Results: A large majority of the physicians declared that consultation time was insufficient (84 %). The data obtained from the survey indicate that 54 % of the enrolled physicians monitored the therapeutic outcome and that 27 % found the information given to the patient to be sufficient. Participating physicians stated that the less known characteristics of the drugs they prescribed were drug interactions, traceability in market, and price. The most preferred reference source was Vademecum (a drug guideline prepared by the private sector). Two major factors contributing to prescribing patterns were "self study" and "observation of teachers" at clinical training. There was a significant difference between internists-surgeons and residents-specialists in the number of prescribed drugs per prescription (p < 0.001) and in the information provided to the patient on the prescribed drugs (name, effect, dose, instructions, possible side effect) (p < 0.05), respectively. Conclusions: Our findings overall show that the principles of RUD were not fully applied in daily medical practice by the participating physicians. One important reason for this is a heavy patient load, which requires a change in managerial practices within the healthcare system. The other, more essential explanation is education; consequently, serious consideration should be given to including effective clinical pharmacotherapy training and RUD courses in the medical education curriculum.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
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