, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 90-96
Date: 23 Dec 2006

Prioritising drug and therapeutics committee (DTC) decisions: a national survey

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Abstract

Objective

A national survey was conducted to explore stakeholder opinions about: (1) the domains of activity and criteria used to determine “important” decisions; (2) the “importance” of Drug and Therapeutics Committee (DTC) decisions as an appropriate approach for prioritising implementation and actions and (3) how DTC decisions could be prioritised for action.

Setting

This is a study of DTCs conducted in the Australian health care setting.

Methods

A semi-structured questionnaire was sent to Directors of Pharmacies or Chief Pharmacists in Australian hospitals. Questionnaires could be returned by email or by fax. Two weeks after initial mail-out, non-responders were followed-up. Responses were collated and analysed using descriptive statistics. Free-text responses were collated. QSR NVivo© was used as a data management tool.

Results

The response rate was 61%. All respondents indicated that “patient safety” was a domain of importance for a decision. Other domains of important DTC decisions include: “ensuring the practice of evidence based medicine within their institution” (94%), “cost” (93%), “ensure practice according to legislative requirements” (87%). Most respondents agreed that some DTC decisions were more important than others. Given constraints on time and resources, the majority agreed that DTC decisions should be prioritised for implementation, although most had no suggestions about how this could be done. Some suggested that the domains of importance could be the basis for priority assignment.

Conclusion

Currently DTC decisions and policies are implemented in an ad hoc manner. As a result implementation may be incomplete and ineffective, and may pose a risk of serious consequences in patient care. This study identifies the domains or criteria of DTC decisions so that DTCs may allocate scarce resources to the systematic implementation of important decisions.