Assessing Medical Prescription Forms as a Communication Tool in Trans-European Health Care

Cavaco A. M., Mourato M., Ferreira S., YEĞENOĞLU S.

JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN PHARMACY PRACTICE, vol.7, no.1, pp.22-29, 2018 (ESCI) identifier


Objective: The objective of the study was to compare the medical prescription forms in European Union (EU) countries, evaluating their convergence toward the implementation of cross-border care, as proposed by the existing EU health-care directives. It also aims to assess how the existing EU prescription models fulfill higher standards of medication prescribing quality and patient safety. Methods: Prescription forms from all EU countries were purposively collected. The prescription fields and other content elements were qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed. Forms were statistically compared with each other and a theoretical EU cross-border prescription form, using hierarchical cluster analysis and nonparametric testing. Findings: None of the EU countries' prescriptions include all the elements required by the cross-border legislation (CBL), with most countries having seven or less mandatory elements. Cluster analysis revealed that countries with similar prescription forms are geographically nearer. Important elements from the EU directive to assure patient safety are also absent such as the International Classification of Diseases, the patient's ID according to the European Health Insurance Card, and the patient's contact. However, Western and Nordic countries showed higher standardization when compared to the CBL and model. Conclusion: Political action is still needed to harmonize medical prescription forms between countries, serving the common goal of trans-European health care and to increase EU patients' safety using medications and other prescribed treatments.