Evaluation of an automated feedback intervention to improve antibiotic prescribing among primary care physicians (OPEN Stewardship): a multinational controlled interrupted time-series study

Jean Paul R. Soucy, Marcelo Low, Kamal R. Acharya, Moriah Ellen, Anette Hulth, Sonja Löfmark, Gary E. Garber, William Watson, Jacob Moran-Gilad, Nadav Davidovitch, Tamar Amar, Janine McCready, Matthew Orava, John S. Brownstein, Kevin A. Brown, David N. Fisman, Derek R. MacFadden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Tools to advance antimicrobial stewardship in the primary health care setting, where most antimicrobials are prescribed, are urgently needed. The aim of this study was to evaluate OPEN Stewarship (Online Platform for Expanding aNtibiotic Stewardship), an automated feedback intervention, among a cohort of primary care physicians. We performed a controlled, interrupted timeseries study of 32 intervention and 725 control participants, consisting of primary care physicians from Ontario, Canada and Southern Israel, from October 2020 to December 2021. Intervention participants received three personalized feedback reports targeting several aspects of antibiotic prescribing. Study outcomes (overall prescribing rate, prescribing rate for viral respiratory conditions, prescribing rate for acute sinusitis, and mean duration of therapy) were evaluated using multilevel regression models. We observed a decrease in the mean duration of antibiotic therapy (IRR = 0.94; 95% CI: 0.90, 0.99) in intervention participants during the intervention period. We did not observe a significant decline in overall antibiotic prescribing (OR = 1.01; 95% CI: 0.94, 1.07), prescribing for viral respiratory conditions (OR = 0.87; 95% CI: 0.73, 1.03), or prescribing for acute sinusitis (OR = 0.85; 95% CI: 0.67, 1.07). In this antimicrobial stewardship intervention among primary care physicians, we observed shorter durations of therapy per antibiotic prescription during the intervention period. The COVID19 pandemic may have hampered recruitment; a dramatic reduction in antibiotic prescribing rates in the months before our intervention may have made physicians less amenable to further reductions in prescribing, limiting the generalizability of the estimates obtained. IMPORTANCE Antibiotic overprescribing contributes to antibiotic resistance, a major threat to our ability to treat infections. We developed the OPEN Stewardship (Online Platform for Expanding aNtibiotic Stewardship) platform to provide automated feedback on antibiotic prescribing in primary care, where most antibiotics for human use are prescribed but where the resources to improve antibiotic prescribing are limited. We evaluated the platform among a cohort of primary care physicians from Ontario, Canada and Southern Israel from October 2020 to December 2021. The results showed that physicians who received personalized feedback reports prescribed shorter courses of antibiotics compared to controls, although they did not write fewer antibiotic prescriptions. While the COVID19 pandemic presented logistical and analytical challenges, our study suggests that our intervention meaningfully improved an important aspect of antibiotic prescribing. The OPEN Stewardship platform stands as an automated, scalable intervention for improving antibiotic prescribing in primary care, where needs are diverse and technical capacity is limited.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMicrobiology spectrum
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2024

Keywords

  • antibiotic prescribing
  • antimicrobial stewardship
  • audit and feedback
  • interrupted time series
  • primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Genetics
  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology
  • Ecology

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