Question 3 of the case studies requires you to Write a letter or report to the doctor, outlining your key findings for this patient and your suggestions or recommendations to the prescriber. To do this effectively you should:
• Use your assessments of medication related issues and patient concerns from Question 2 to form the basis of your letter. You need to demonstrate your judgement when you decide what information should be included in the report and what could be left out.
• If the patient is currently unwell it would be prudent to telephone the GP – please indicate to the marker if you would do this (this can be a “note to assessor” and would be reflected in your written report also).
• Your report needs to be patient focused and it should list any concerns the patient might have with symptoms, (and whether any medications might be contributing to these symptoms) and how they are coping with their medications.
• Make sure you prioritise the issues according to your clinical judgement – as a rule of thumb address patient concerns and/or reason for referral as your priorities– please identify what you think are high and low priorities (and why) in question 2.
• Offer supported recommendations using appropriate communication and language
• Do not diagnose. Ensure that your discussion describes medication related issues and patient concerns. Overall management of chronic conditions and triaging of patients to other health professionals is the role of the GP and if addressed at all in your report requires great tact.
• Make sure that the letter is coherent and that spelling is correct (in particular it looks unprofessional if medications, patient names or the GP name is incorrect). Use the approved name of each medication with the brand name in brackets if appropriate.
• Make use of headings, paragraphs – there is no required format but ensure that you include a list of medications that the patient is actually taking so that the GP can reconcile your list with their referral list of medicines.
• Ensure you add a disclaimer to your letter.
References to the report are only required if you mention something that is new, controversial or that you feel the GP might want to verify. Do not reference information the GP already knows
• Make sure your letter or report to the GP can be read and interpreted in isolation to your answers to questions 1 and 2. You should provide a compelling patient-focussed, evidencebased reason/s for changes to the patient’s medication regimen.
References are your ‘tools of the trade’ for medication review services and are the basis of your credibility. You are required to provide references in order for AACP to assure that you have appropriate resources available that are independent, credible and respected by GPs when undertaking reviews–consider using NPS MedicineWise publications, Australian Prescriber, relevant National Guidelines, TGA Medication Safety Updates (all available online).
• Use relevant, up-to-date references that are interpreted correctly and that will justify your recommendations
• Use references that a GP is familiar with or has access to such as those listed above and AMH, Therapeutic Guidelines.
Please refer to Reference Guide available from the Resources page on the AACP web site before attempting the case study (log in required).