Optimal Prescribing and Medication in Canada: Challenges and opportunities

Ingrid Sketris, Ethel Langille Ingram, Heather Lummis
Research Summary: 

Purpose of Study
This study was commissioned by the Health Council of Canada as a basis for discussions on prescribing and medication use improvements.

Research Approach/Method
The authors searched medical databases, the internet, and government and health services organization websites on Canadian prescribing behaviour and decision-making.

Key Overarching Message
Results suggest no single approach is appropriate for every prescribing problem, prescriber practice or health care setting. Real-world evaluation of prescribing interventions is needed, with an understanding of theoretical frameworks, evidence from other jurisdictions, and knowledge of local context.

Key Findings
Real-world evaluation of prescribing improvements is needed to assess safety, effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, acceptability, and social and ethical aspects of interventions. It is critical to evaluate broad national or province-wide approaches that aim to improve prescribing, in order to determine intended and unintended effects. Targeted strategies to improve prescribing and medication use for a wide range of stakeholders must be implemented to achieve both desired patient health outcomes, and broader societal goals for public health and the health care system.