Prescribed medication may lead to significant morbidity or mortality as a result of these medications causing adverse events, or because of a prescribing error. E-learning is a common tool used in supporting training in prescribing. This paper describes the development of an e-learning course and the subsequent evaluation undertaken by the users with the aim of obtaining an effective e-learning course for prescribing. The e-learning course was developed by general practitioners and pharmacists and focussed on the principles of good prescribing, examined the common reasons for prescribing errors, and was evaluated using self-reported quantitative and qualitative measures. Scores significantly increased on an assessment given before and after the course. The majority of respondents reported that the e-learning course had a positive impact on prescribing knowledge, skills and attitudes, with medication reviews the top area where a change in prescribing practice was reported. Over 90% of the respondents agreed that the e-learning course was easy to use and a useful part of their continuing professional education. This study shows that clinicians recognise the on-going need for training in prescribing, but the lack of training is one of the factors contributing to errors, which suggests that more education is needed, not just for GPs in training, but for qualified GPs as well.
Keywords: Education; continuing; general practice; general practitioners; inappropriate prescribing; medical; medication errors.