Healthcare professionals' self-reported experiences and preferences related to direct healthcare professional communications: a survey conducted in the Netherlands

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Piening, Sigrid ; Haaijer-Ruskamp, Flora M. ; de Graeff, Pieter A. ; Straus, Sabine M. J. M. ; Mol, Peter G. M. (2012)
  • Subject:
    mesheuropmc: education | health care economics and organizations

Background: In Europe, Direct Healthcare Professional Communications (DHPCs) are important tools to inform healthcare professionals of serious, new drug safety issues. However, this tool has not always been successful in effectively communicating the desired actions to healthcare professionals. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore healthcare providers' experiences and their preferences for improvement of risk communication, comparing views of general practitioners (GPs), internists, community pharmacists and hospital pharmacists. Methods: A questionnaire was developed and pilot tested to assess experiences and preferences of Dutch healthcare professionals with DHPCs. The questionnaire and two reminders were sent to a random sample of 3488 GPs, internists and community and hospital pharmacists in the Netherlands. Descriptive statistics were used to describe demographic characteristics of the respondents. Chi squares, ANOVAs and the Wilcoxon signed rank test were used, when appropriate, to compare healthcare professional groups. Results: The overall response rate was 34% (N=1141, ranging from 24% for internists to 46% for community pharmacists). Healthcare providers trusted safety information more when provided by the Dutch Medicines Evaluation Board (MEB) than by the pharmaceutical industry. This was more the case for GPs than for the other healthcare professionals. Respondents preferred safety information to be issued by the MEB, the Dutch Pharmacovigilance Center or their own professional associations. The preferred alternative channels of drug safety information were e-mail, medical journals and electronic prescribing systems. Conclusions: Safety information of drugs does not always reach healthcare professionals through DHPCs. To improve current risk communication of drug safety issues, alternative and/or additional methods of risk communication should be developed using electronic methods and medical journals. Moreover, (additional) risk communication coming from an independent source such as the MEB should be considered. Special effort is needed to reach GPs.
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