Objective: To describe the therapeutic practice of allopathic physicians and to evaluate the outpatient care provided to patients in healthcare facilities.
Methods: The study was conducted in Ribeirão Preto, southeastern Brazil. World Health Organization drug use indicators were used as a methodological basis. Our sample comprised 10 healthcare facilities, with 6,692 prescriptions written by clinicians and pediatricians for the analysis of prescription indicators and 30 patients of each facility for the analysis of patient care indicators. The number of facilities varied according to each indicator. We used statistical tests for the comparison of proportions.
Results: The mean number of drugs per prescription was 2.2, which is compatible with data from the literature. The generic name of the medication was used in 30.6% of prescriptions, a proportion considered as low. Antibiotics were prescribed in 21.3% of prescriptions, with greater percentage among pediatricians (28.9%). Injections were prescribed in 8.3% of prescriptions, with greater proportion among clinicians (13.1%). The drugs prescribed in 83.4% of prescriptions were part of the List of Standardized Drugs, indicating the acceptance of this list by healthcare professionals. Mean duration was 9.2 minutes for appointments and 18.4 seconds dispensation, both considered as insufficient for effective patient care. 60.3% of all drugs prescribed were supplied. 70.0% of patients interviewed had adequate knowledge of how to take the medication prescribed.
Conclusions: The care provided to patients is insufficient. Qualitative studies are necessary in order to evaluate the different factors involved and to plan future interventions.