Improving adherence to safe prescription guidelines for Dapsone: harnessing an enhanced electronic medical records system and a team approach

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BackgroundDapsone is a commonly prescribed medication in dermatological practice. Its use is associated with a broad spectrum of adverse effects. Careful selection and monitoring of patients on dapsone are paramount in the prevention and early recognition of adverse effects.Objective and methodsWe designed a risk-management program for dapsone at National Skin Centre, Singapore, enhancing an existing electronic medical records system and harnessing a team approach involving the nurses. This includes the performance of key laboratory tests before and after starting dapsone, ensuring adequate counseling before starting dapsone and screening for adverse effects using a questionnaire every visit.ResultsThis system of dapsone prescription efficiently improved the adherence to safe prescription and monitoring guidelines. Average adherence rates for key safety parameters improved from 61.4% pre-implementation to 95.3% at six months and were sustained at 12 months at 91.3%. Percentage of follow-up cases in which all three key monitoring parameters were fulfilled increased from 9.5% to 79.6% (p = 0.0001) after 12 months. The percentage of new patients in which all four key monitoring parameters were met increased from 50% to 80%. It was not statistically significant possibly because of small patient numbers. This project has also translated into enhanced patient safety with dapsone dosages adjusted in 17 patients who experienced mild adverse effects. No severe adverse effects to dapsone were observed in the 12-month period.ConclusionThis example of risk management for dapsone may serve as a model for institutions looking at harnessing information technology and a team approach for safer prescription of high-alert medications.

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