Coding accuracy: METHODS(2)

A standardized data collection form was used and information was obtained about: the dispensed medication (date, DIN [which contains the dose, active chemical ingredient and manufacturer], route of administration, and quantity of pills); the prescriber (type, location); the prescribing mode (paper/telephone); and the pharmacy (annual volume of dispensed prescriptions, annual number of hours worked by pharmacists and pharmacy assistants). In cases where more than one medication was listed on the prescription, only the first medication was abstracted. When attempting to verify the coding accuracy of the dates, it was only possible to detect errors when the dispensation predated the date of the prescription. It was only possible to detect errors that led to logical inconsistencies. ventolin inhalers

All data were collected by one abstractor, a pharmacy assistant well-versed in standard pharmacy practices. The research assistant underwent training to ensure consistent coding of the data: the research assistant and study investigators with retail pharmacy experience (CS, DW) abstracted the same 50 prescriptions, and the abstracts were compared. Any discrepancies were resolved by consensus. Two procedures were implemented during the data collection phase to ensure consistency: first, the research assistant flagged ambiguous or unclear prescriptions and these were resolved with the investigators and, second, periodic spot checks of the abstracted data were performed. The study protocol was approved by the Research Ethics Board of St Joseph’s Hospital, Hamilton and was also reviewed by the Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP).