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J Eval Clin Pract. 2012 Aug;18(4):828-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2011.01684.x. Epub 2011 May 25.

Quality circles for pharmacotherapy to modify general practitioners' prescribing behaviour for generic drugs.

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  • 1Clinical Division of Social Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Center for Public Health, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. wolfgang.spiegel@meduniwien.ac.at

Abstract

RATIONALE, AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:

In Austria, the participation of general practitioners (GPs) in so-called 'quality circles for pharmacotherapy' (QCPs) was taken as a special approach to increase the use of generics and possibly, to improve the quality and efficiency of prescribing patterns in primary care. This study aimes at exploring GPs' perception of QCPs whether they think that taking part has helped to change their prescribing habits, their opinions on generics in general and the issues that arise for them in attempting to promote their use.

METHODS:

Qualitative analysis was used to evaluate QCP protocols for their potential to evoke discussion in the group and for their relevance to our study questions.

RESULTS:

Of the 821 self-employed GPs in Vienna under contract with the Vienna District Health Insurance Fund 445 took part at least once in the study period. Seven main topics, which provide insight into various aspects of patient care in primary care, were identified: QCPs work, generic drug prescription, problems related to the sale of generics, patient counselling and education, therapy adherence, coordination of care, competence and medical education. From all prescribed drugs for which generics were available in the fourth quarter of the year 2003 GPs prescribed 33.91% generics, in the fourth quarter of 2004 43.97%, in the fourth quarter of 2005 46.31%, and in the fourth quarter of 2006 49.88%.

CONCLUSIONS:

Peer review groups can be an important method of quality improvement in GPs' prescribing behaviour in favour of generics. QCPs also facilitate the exchange between GPs on problems encountered and provide feedback to policy makers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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