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Supporting medication discontinuation: provider preferences for interventions to facilitate deprescribing.

Linsky A, Meterko M, Stolzmann K, Simon SR. Supporting medication discontinuation: provider preferences for interventions to facilitate deprescribing. BMC health services research. 2017 Jun 28; 17(1):447.

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BACKGROUND: One approach to prevent adverse drug events is to discontinue ("deprescribe") medications that are outdated, not indicated, or of limited benefit relative to risk for a particular patient. However, there is little guidance to clinicians about how to integrate the process of deprescribing into the workflow of clinical practice. We sought to determine clinical prescribers'' preferences for interventions that would improve their ability to appropriately and proactively discontinue medications. METHODS: We conducted a national web-based survey of 2475 prescribers [physicians, nurse practitioners (NP), physician assistants (PA), and clinical pharmacy specialists] practicing in US Veterans Affairs (VA) primary care clinics. One survey question presented 15 potential changes to medication-related practices and respondents ranked their top three choices for changes that would "most improve [their] ability to discontinue medications." We summed the weighted rankings for each of the 15 response options. Preferences were determined for the whole sample and within subgroups of respondents defined by demographic and background characteristics, medication-relevant experience, and beliefs. RESULTS: Among the 326 respondents who provided rankings, the top choice for a change that would help improve their ability to discontinue medications was "Requiring all medication prescriptions to have an associated ''indication for use.''" This preference was followed by "Assistance with follow-up of patients as they taper or discontinue medications is performed by another member of the Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT)" and "Increased patient involvement in prescribing decisions." This combination of options, albeit in varying rank order, was the most commonly selected, with 250 respondents (77%) who answered the question including at least one of these items in their three highest ranked choices, regardless of their demographics, experience, or beliefs. CONCLUSIONS: Continued efforts to improve clinicians'' ability to make prescribing decisions, especially around deprescribing, have many potential benefits, including decreased pharmaceutical and health care costs, fewer adverse drug events and complications, and improved patient involvement and satisfaction with their care. Future work, whether as research or quality improvement, should incorporate clinicians'' preferences for interventions, as greater buy-in from front-line staff leads to better adoption of changes.

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