Development and evaluation of a prescribing e-Learning package for GPs
Healthcare organisations are committed to reducing prescribing errors due to their resultant impact on morbidity and mortality. The GMC PRACtICe study identified errors in one in 20 prescription items from UK general practice and highlighted therapeutic training as one of the factors contributing to such errors. An e-learning package was developed, which highlighted lessons learned from the PRACtICe study.
The e-learning package, which went live on the RCGP e-learning site in January 2014, consists of five modules: appropriate drug selection, avoiding prescribing errors, choosing the right drug, providing the right dose instructions and performing effective medication reviews. Users were asked to complete a 13-question multiple choice quiz based on prescribing safety both before and after completing the e-learning. Additionally, users were invited to complete a detailed on-line feedback questionnaire consisting of three sections: demographic information about the user, exploration of ‘lessons learned’ from the course, and feedback regarding the process of taking part in the e-learning course.Quantitative data from e-learning users and the participants of the detailed on-line feedback questionnaire were downloaded into excel files. Descriptive statistical output was facilitated by SPSS.
From January 2014 until September 2017, 2805 unique users had engaged with the on-line learning course by completing the pre-test or the post-test quiz. Both pre and post-tests were completed by 1733 users (61.8%). A paired samples t-test showed a significant difference in the scores for post-test (M=7.80, SD=1.156) and pre-test (M=6.06, SD=1.307); t(1732)=54.294, p<0.01. Hence, the mean post-test score was found to be significantly greater than the mean pre-test score. Most of the 765 users who completed the on-line feedback questionnaire were either GPs (601, 78%) or GP Associates-in-Training (88, 11.5%). The majority of responders either agreed or strongly agreed that the e-learning had increased their knowledge of prescribing (748/765, 98%). A similar majority of users either agreed or strongly agreed that the modules had improved their skills required in order to prescribe safely (735/765, 96%). Most of the users agreed or strongly agreed that the course had been a useful part of their continuous professional development (750/765, 98%). Those completing the feedback questionnaire also detailed how their practice had been changed as a result of completing the e-learning. Ways in which the e-learning could be improved were also proffered.
Initial analysis of user data from the e-learning course gives strong support for the efficacy of the learning package. The analysis of the full set of quantitative data and thematic analysis of the free text data will be presented at the conference. Outlining reported changes in practice will be of particular interest, as it is often very difficult to measure the potential ‘impact’ of an e-learning package.