Aims: This study describes development and field testing of a set of indicators for drug and therapeutics committees (DTCs) in hospitals. It was intended that these indicators should be accessible, useful and relevant in the Australian setting.
Methods: Candidate indicators were written following consultation and data collection. A framework of outcome, impact and process indicators was based on DTC goals, objectives and strategies. The candidate indicators were field tested over a 2 month period in teaching, city non-teaching, rural and private hospitals. The field tests provided response data for each indicator and evaluation of the indicators against criteria for accessibility, relevance, usefulness, clarity and resource utilisation. Consensus on which indicators to accept, modify or reject was reached at a workshop of stakeholders and experts, taking account of the field test results.
Results: Thirty-five candidate indicators were tested in 16 hospitals. Twenty-two had a response from >80% of sites, 23 had a mean relevance rating >3.5, 19 had a mean usefulness rating >3.5, 27 were correctly interpreted by > 90% of sites and 25 could be collected in an acceptable time. The most acceptable indicators required least data collection or provided data deemed useful for purposes other than the field test. At the consensus workshop 13 indicators were accepted with no or minor change, nine were accepted after major modification and eight were discarded. It was recommended that a further five indicators should be merged or subsumed into one indicator.
Conclusions: This study has developed and field tested a set of indicators for DTCs in Australia. The indicators have been taken up enthusiastically as a first attempt to monitor DTC performance but require ongoing validation and development to ensure continuing relevance and usefulness.