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A Comparison of Innovative App-Based Prescriptions With Conventional Prescriptions for Children by General Dentists: A Mixed Methods Study

HumanInsight A Comparison of Innovative App-Based Prescriptions With Conventional Prescriptions for Children by General Dentists: A Mixed Methods Study

Cureus. 2023 Jan 10;15(1):e33583. doi: 10.7759/cureus.33583. eCollection 2023 Jan.


Introduction Writing drug prescriptions for children with accurate drug dosages and clear instructions is a must for general dentists. A digital tool in the form of a software application (app) to write, save and share prescriptions can potentially overcome the possible limitations of handwritten prescriptions such as handwriting illegibility, errors in calculations, and incomplete descriptions. However, it is also important to assess the satisfaction of dentists with making prescriptions using a digital tool such as an android application. A mixed methods study comparing an innovative "app-based" and handwritten prescriptions in dental settings is presented. Methodology An indigenously developed and piloted app "PREscribing children made EASY (PREASY)" was used in this study. Based on the preliminary study, a sample size of 20 was found to be adequate. Twenty-two dentists participated in the study. The conventional handwritten and an Android app PREASY-based prescriptions were compared in terms of the time taken, precision of writing, and satisfaction of the dentists. Qualitative feedback regarding the PREASY app was obtained in Google Forms (Google, Inc., Mountain View, CA, USA). Results A study sample of 20 subjects was calculated based on a pilot study, and 22 dentists were recruited. The mean time taken in seconds for handwritten prescriptions (199.14 (+ 59.18)) was almost four times higher than that for app-based prescriptions (52.05 (+ 23.89)) (t-test, P < 0.00001). The accuracy of handwritten prescriptions versus app-based prescriptions was compared by two examiners independently using analysis of variance (ANOVA) in three domains: dosage accuracy, legible handwriting, and completeness of instructions, the differences (Domain 1 mean + SD: 1.04 + 0.89, Domain 2 mean + SD: 1.38 + 0.40, Domain 3 mean + SD: 0.88 + 0.58) being statistically significant (P < 0.05). The differences in the percentages of the three domains (dosage accuracy: 40.9%, legibility of handwriting: 63.6%, completeness of instructions: 18.1%) were found to be statistically significant (P < 0.05; chi-squared statistic, 9.4017). Of the participants, 59% were very satisfied, 36.3% were satisfied, and 4.5% were neutral (chi-squared test, P < 0.00001). Participants' feedback/comments were categorized under technical suggestions, dosage suggestions, criticism, and positive remarks and were thematically analyzed. Conclusion App-based prescriptions proved to be more instantaneous and detailed than handwritten ones with the majority of dentists satisfied. Valuable feedback pertaining to the limitations of the tool was obtained for improving the app. PREASY-based prescriptions could be recommended for prescribing to pediatric dental patients.

PMID:36788825 | PMC:PMC9910809 | DOI:10.7759/cureus.33583

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