Part of the Therapeutics Initiative’s mandate is to evaluate the impact and acceptance of its educational activities. We have responded to this mandate by conducting randomized surveys of our readers in 1996, 2000 and 2006. In this Letter we report some results from the 2006 survey. The full report on the survey is available above.
The 2006 survey consisted of eight sections to assess the readers’ opinion of the educational activities of the Therapeutics Initiative. Some of the questions in all 3 surveys were identical so we could assess changes in response rates over time. For each survey we randomly selected 10% of the 10,000 physicians and pharmacists in BC who receive the Therapeutics Letter and mailed them a copy of the survey. As an incentive we offered a free copy of the 10th Anniversary Edition of the Ontario Anti-Infective Guidelines for Community-acquired Infections booklet to everybody who completed the survey. In October 2006 we mailed the survey to 1,000 health professionals and about 28% responded. After 6 weeks we re-mailed the survey to those who had not responded; the final response rate was 44%.
The respondents were a good representation of our audience: 57% physicians and 43% pharmacists (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. Survey respondents 2006
Has the TI been successful at meeting its mandate?
The Therapeutics Initiative was established in 1994 at UBC to provide physicians and pharmacists with up-to-date, unbiased, evidence based, practical information about drug therapy.
This question was asked in the 2000 and 2006 surveys (see Figure 2).
Figure 2. Percentage of respondents agreeing that the TI meets its mandate
Is the information in the Therapeutics Letter accurate and unbiased?
This question was asked in the 1996, 2000 and 2006 surveys (see Figure 3).
Figure 3. Percentage of respondents agreeing that the TI Letter is accurate and unbiased
Print or Website Format?
The print format is preferred by 83% of physicians and 64% of pharmacists. In fact, in this most recent survey, 93% of physicians and 78% of pharmacists indicated that they have either never accessed the TI website or have done so less than once per month (see front page illustration).
The survey results are encouraging and stable over the last 10 years.
- To improve TI’s approval among specialist physicians.
- To demonstrate TI’s independence from government to physicians.
- To continue providing prescription drug costs.
- To continue disseminating the printed version of the Letter.
- To promote the advantage of the TI website (rapid access to information).
TI Website: www.ti.ubc.ca
Our website is redesigned with new features and more content: all Therapeutics Letters, new drug assessment reports, podcasts of educational presentations, useful links, comments and feedback from users. Utilization continues to increase (see Figure 4).
Figure 4. TI website monthly hits 1998-2007
The Therapeutics Initiative presents critically appraised summary evidence primarily from controlled drug trials. Such evidence applies to patients similar to those involved in the trails, and may not be generalizable to every patient. We are committed to evaluate the effectiveness of our educational activities using the Pharmacare/PharmaNet databases without identifying individual physicians, pharmacies or patients. The Therapeutics Initiative is funded by the BC Ministry of Health through a grant to the University of BC. The Therapeutics Initiative provides evidence based advice about drug therapy, and is not responsible for formulating or adjudicating provincial drug policies.